The commitment to making the environment greener has never been more prominent. Consumers around the world are rising to the challenge of making smart purchasing decisions, and large companies are not resting on changing the way they do business.
One thing is clearer than ever: businesses are going green, and green marketing is leading the way.
What was initially considered a trend is now considered an independent movement – or, conversely, a must-have practice – that is beginning to gain traction.
With 57% of customers expressing a willingness to start shopping more consciously to help reduce their carbon footprint, businesses feel an urgency to start catching up.
This is the burning question: can companies make this transition if they don’t necessarily sell sustainable products or offer green services? The answer is yes. They can do it.
The easiest way to join those already offsetting their emissions is to get into green marketing.
You might be surprised to learn that there is a $2.65 trillion market allocated to sustainable goods. If communicated effectively, this represents more than a trillion dollars in opportunities for companies that champion the sustainable attributes of their products.
As you can see, making green marketing profitable is not difficult. But it requires some dedication on the part of brands targeting a consumer who may be skeptical about the true intentions of the company marketed as organic.
The additional effort will not be in vain either; higher prices do not scare away buyers whose belief systems are aligned with sustainability. 70% of these customers will pay 35% more for recycled and ecological products. Conscientious consumers voting for a cleaner environment is precisely what companies use as the basis for their green marketing. But if you go too far with the ads, it will backfire on you.
This is what happened – and continues to happen – with fast fashion retailers. Take H&M’s Conscious Collection, for example, which has been accused of vague sustainability claims in the past that are, by definition, an example of greenwashing. Failure to “provide adequate details on why your garments are less polluting than others” is misleading, to say the least.
It breaks the confidence of data-savvy consumers, who may know whether a company is sugarcoating its marketing tactics to chase sales or actually taking steps toward adopting an environmentally friendly approach to running the business. Excessive use of buzzwords is one way to spot misleading marketing. If they are not supported by objective evidence, they are most likely worthless.
Lesser-known greenwashing techniques, such as lack of transparency, no mention of the parent company, and counterintuitive values exhibited by the company, should also be high on your list of practices to avoid if your ultimate goal is to win. is customer retention.
It’s easy to label your offering simultaneously “zero waste, toxin-free, biodegradable” and “low emissions.” But if this isn’t quite true, there’s no point in trying to make it look greener than it is (hint: greenwashing .
A brand that is dedicated to sustainable practices will base their products/services on a few strong selling principles that will truly resonate with their target audience. And take them through the entire process, from advertising to delivery and thanking the customer for the purchase. Lush is a great example of a brand that stays true to its USP without overdoing its green positioning. Known for being cruelty-free and creating 100% vegetarian products, it adheres to its strict no-animal-testing policy that distinguishes it. In addition, it is certified by PETA and is not for sale in mainland China.
Assess what sets you apart from your competitors and use it to market your offering. It may be solar powered or use only recyclable materials. Whatever best characterizes your product, make it your company’s DNA and make sure you have proof of it. In this way, you will be able to attract customers who share the same values and who are more likely to stay.
If you are still in the brainstorming phase, it will not be difficult to adjust your product design and make it sustainable. But this does not mean that the same cannot be done with the already existing offer. But before you make any changes to your products’ outlook, you need to determine what their life cycle will look like. Nor should we ignore the often forgotten question of what will happen to the product once it is no longer usable.
If the product is green from the beginning, it is very likely that it will not need any greenwashing in the future. The eco-friendly packaging designed by Fuji Xerox sets a good standard in the industry. Its green design coincides with the company’s dedication to strategizing and developing high-performance, waste-free products.
The proof is in the pudding: the paper is made from 60% recycled fiber from post-consumer waste and 40% new sustainable fiber from PEFC-certified pulp. Find out what tangible materials or digital resources you have access to and use them when designing your products.
Just as handmade items cost more than mass-produced items, products made with sustainability in mind command a higher price. And while this targeted pricing may be obvious to you, not all customers will understand it right away .
To communicate the value of your offering so that your audience is willing to buy without hesitation, you need to share what it has taken to set your cost higher than your competition. Do you source materials from a factory that pays its workers fairly? Or perhaps, very little, if any, waste is generated in the process of creating the product? If the customer can return it for recycling, be sure to pass that along as well.
No matter what justifies that the price your company agrees to is reasonable, you must add value to the customer and see that this purchase affects your impact on the environment. Tide used the “50% more energy savings” approach with its Coldwater Clean liquid detergent to attract consumers. The company knew that presenting it as a product that could help them save money on their energy bills and, in turn, reduce their energy consumption, would be a smart move.
It is not news that electronic marketing is many steps ahead of offline marketing. It costs less, works faster and reduces environmental impact. Plus, it comes with a suite of digital tools that make online advertising quick and easy. Where to start if digital marketing sounds strange to you?
Everything that involves paper and its derivatives must remain in the past without digitizing. Instead, use email marketing campaigns. Use the power of social networks. Explore the world of search engine optimization (SEO) . You can, for example, experiment with Twitter trends by incorporating hashtags into your tweets. Twitter’s 192 million users quickly engage with businesses that advertise and respond to their customers on the same platform.
Pay attention to ASOS and its user-generated content (UGC). Knowing his audience well enough to expect him to post his outfits on social media, he is famous for asking his followers to use the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe in order to be featured on the ASOS Instagram page.
Significant changes start from within. Before you shout from the rooftops how much your company cares about the environment, make sure the outside – your actions – match the inside of your work culture. Being transparent about sustainable behavior in the workplace is a good foundation.
Make sure that the suppliers with which the company deals use environmentally friendly packaging. The same goes for the type of vehicles the company uses and the way it disposes of waste.
Internal processes have to be aligned with company values so that staff remain loyal and follow the lead. One way to impose a culture based on sustainability is to facilitate recycling by installing bins in every corner of the office. As well as encouraging staff to bring their lunch, this will initiate a change in their habits to go greener.
When hosting company-wide events, consider making them as waste-free as possible. The upcoming Earth Day celebration on April 22 can motivate employees to bond and share how they plan to reduce waste. Implement sustainable practices in the office, such as e-signing documents or holding sustainability workshops via Zoom, and encourage conserving energy by working near windows with natural light.
Going green can take many forms. And while it’s not feasible to enact all of them, it helps to track progress and make changes as you go.
Once you’ve streamlined internal processes, it’s time to let the rest of the world know what makes your brand sustainable (and the one to choose from your competitors). Do it carefully and without resorting to green washing; This way, you’re more likely to get loyal customers who stick with you through thick and thin.
This is what you can do. Patagonia gets it right with its publicly available statement of principles, in which it declares that it produces garments that do not cause any harm to the environment and instead uses organic materials that comply with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). In addition, they continually encourage their customers to fix and use the things they already have before buying something new.
Do not support the community of local vendors and organizations that focus on protecting the environment in the background. Even if it doesn’t help you directly to promote your brand, your contribution will result in a greener environment and a better reputation.
By purchasing raw materials from local suppliers, you are automatically eliminating your carbon footprint. If delivered by bicycle or other energy efficient vehicle, you get an extra point.
But even if it’s not possible for your company to opt for local deliveries alone, you can minimize the negative impact on the environment by shortening the supply chain and finding ways to make some elements of the process greener.
Other initiatives you can support are environmental NGOs and charities. By committing to preserve the environment, they are often the main driver of ecological change. Choose the organizations that align with your company’s values and beliefs and associate with them for the good of humanity.
This association may include donations from you and support from them, as well as marketing campaigns that encourage others to participate in the charity’s activities.
Getting started is always the hardest part. But it gets easier as you trial and error and adjust your green marketing strategy along the way. We are not going to sugarcoat the situation and say that gaining the trust of customers does not come at a cost.
It is, and the more transparent you are about incorporating sustainability into your business processes, the more your business is prone to backlash. And that’s precisely why you need to set sustainability goals in advance and stay true to them even at times when running out of budget seems inevitable.
Build your offering with sustainability in mind, leverage your social media platforms, educate your staff on sustainability, and start seeing the rewards of your hard work ahead of schedule.