The fight against the climate crisis is no longer the remit of activists and NGOs. Around the world, businesses are becoming more and more aware of climate change, sustainability and social issues. This shift has created an opportunity for brands and marketers to capitalise on their green credentials and sustainability activities.
Despite price-premiums, sustainability-marketed products grew over seven times faster than conventional products between 2015 and 2019, and research tells us that three out of four millennials are willing to pay more for products that are ethical and sustainable. This has spilled over into B2B decision-making as well where research shows that approximately 62% of purchasing decisions are made emotionally (Raconteur).
The effort to capitalise on this increasingly sustainability conscious market has led to a rise in green marketing, where brands highlight the sustainability credentials of their businesses in order to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
This has become so pervasive that it can be difficult for brands that are truly doing good to stand out amongst the many organisations trying to appeal to this segment.
Sustainability is complex, it is a mess of interconnected issues and the brands that are leading the way often find their messaging lost in a busy marketplace of green claims or confused by the sheer number of indices, certifications, complex science and acronyms that do not make for clear customer communication.
Climate conscious marketing is about supporting those brands that are doing good, to ensure their message is understood and is heard above the noise. It is a total paradigm shift to the way marketing is approached, focusing on ethics, purpose, authenticity and transparency.
Sustainable marketing is about more than creating a short-term emotive response. It uses meaningful messaging to tell the story of a brand’s carbon reduction activities, net zero strategies, circular economy innovations, social justice campaigns or philanthropic efforts. It brings the client along on the journey and it creates dialogue through a strategic marketing approach that develops relationships and inspires long-term loyalty.
Sustainable procurement grew by 81% between 2016 and 2019, and organisations in all sectors continue to introduce purchasing policies focused on all areas of sustainability (Environmental Leader).
Sustainability is not about perfection. Being open and honest about the brand’s sustainability journey and backing up claims with verifiable credentials and science is what allows businesses to not only meet increasingly strict requirements, but to stand out and gain competitive advantage over their peers.
But, in order to navigate sustainability marketing and build those coveted long-term relationships, brands must focus on transparency as well as authenticity. To avoid falling into the trap of ‘greenwashing’ brands need to ensure they can back up claims and the drivers behind them (Marketing Dive). In this sense, sustainable marketing extends far beyond the usual marketing remits and is integrated into every facet of a business.
An authentic purpose that is well-articulated and aligned to the brand’s core activities is the first step to creating impact with climate conscious marketing. Combining this with creativity. Effective dialogue and collaboration on sustainability topics can not only help to foster brand loyalty, but can inform future strategic sustainability decisions and create lifelong brand advocates.
Eco labels and green packaging are no longer enough. To stand out, sustainable brands must constantly innovate and raise the bar in ambitious, creative ways both in their marketing and their business decisions.
Climate Conscious Marketing is a vehicle for sustainable brands to spread authentic messaging that has the potential to not only drive sales and brand loyalty but to enable positive global change that reaches far beyond their own clients.