Sustainability in Marketing: Attaining Green Success
3 MIN READ
Sustainability in marketing should really do one thing. Drive real change.
The UK's 2050 net zero emission target will be a landmark moment in history that’s defining this era of sustainable business. Every business has impacts – both harmful and positive. And the reality is that true, meaningful impact, can only be made possible through businesses.
Whether we like it or not, money makes the world go round. And ever increasingly, shareholder value is driven by making businesses more sustainable.
That means marketing needs to change too.
No matter your industry, if you’re a B Corp or not, or haven’t started on your sustainability journey, it’s never too out of reach to start communicating, your strong purpose and sense of WHY.
We all have one!
Focusing on the sustainability performance metrics that matter is a good place to start.. There’s no model more relevant for purpose-driven, sustainable marketing, than John Elkington's triple bottom line or the “3 P’s.”
People, Planet, and Profit.
For brands to be successful in sustainability marketing, they must get their brand purpose right and elevate it with a streamlined focus on HOW they drive that change. How they can actually impact the world around them.
Sustainability in marketing isn’t just about making sure products are eco-friendly and that “busy work” gets done on time. It's also about understanding how to use your brand - and faces of the brand - to make positive impacts on the world, the people in it, as well as the business’ profit.
Here are a few more sustainable marketing trends that take us one step closer to that net zero goal.
The Crucial Role of Sustainability in Marketing Success
The Rise of Conscious Consumerism
Here’s the first ‘P’. People.
We’re now more aware than ever about our carbon footprint, leading to shifts in brand preference and eco-friendly consumer habits.
Conscious consumerism has driven more people to buy from brands - even with premium price tags - that are sustainably produced or use renewable resources in production. Enter compelling brands with authentic, green marketing strategies to respond to consumer demands…
Demand for Transparency and Authenticity
As conscious consumerism has grown, and the importance of putting ‘People’ first, so too have demands for transparency around sustainability in marketing communications.
With environmental awareness growing, this has led to knock-on sustainable marketing trends, where businesses must be more authentic - not just greenwashing - about how they source materials, manufacture products, and dispose of waste. All with one, essential message at the forefront. Prove it!
Digital Marketing Agencies as Agents of Change
With the rise of purpose-driven sustainability in marketing, agencies are playing an important role in helping green brands make this shift towards purpose-driven marketing. They combine their creative, design and channel strategy expertise - and sometimes SEO tactics - to develop effective purpose-driven campaigns - that are actually seen - to make sustainability brands work harder in driving change.
Sustainable Digital Marketing Techniques
Sustainable Web Design & Hosting
Did you know the internet produces approximately 3.8% of total carbon emissions? This is from electricity consumption when websites manage and load large files, code and web-hosted items.
Moreover, web-design and hosting should be optimized for energy efficiency and resource conservation. By reducing file sizes on pages, this reduces load time, energy consumption, and boosts search rankings and positive, secure user experiences. Equally, only having essential webpages in the site tree, and spending less on complex web-design, initial content production etc, this keeps the brand’s site minimal, accessible and more user-friendly.
This will help the brand save money on resources - profit! - while demonstrating their commitment to sustainable digital marketing at every touchpoint.
Tom Greenwood (an apt name for this subject!) is a key opinion-leader in this space – click here to find out more about his book on sustainable web design.
Green Content Marketing
Green content marketing can be evergreen - no pun intended – with long shelf lives allowing sustainable digital marketing content to remain relevant as we move closer to planetary sustainability performance deadlines in 2050. Plenty of time!
This is an opportunity for businesses to educate tribes about sustainability metrics and facts through infographics, articles, and short-form video content, to name a few.
Green content marketing is, therefore, a powerful, unbiased, fact-based, means to demonstrate expertise and evidence and flush any empty greenwashing.
Green content marketing, used in the right way, and through the most effective channels - like partnering with lobbying firms and entities like the Better Business Act - has the power to raise awareness among important stakeholders. They can inform and educate policymakers, leading to positive change in legislation.
Ethical Social Media and Influencer Partnerships
The power of ethical social media and influencer partnership campaigns cannot be underestimated when it comes to building a tribe for environmental change. Influencers with shared environmental beliefs and values, with the organization or brand, can help spread credible, green marketing messages.
Ethical social media partnerships are also an effective way to engage two audiences at the same time. By featuring tribe leaders on the brand's podcasts, for example, both the influencer and the brand’s tribes benefit from exposing their message and passions on a wider scale.
Effective Storytelling and Impact Reporting
We’ve saved the most critical of these sustainable marketing trends for last. By prioritizing authentic storytelling, this really is the key to creating meaningful relationships with audiences and communities.
Especially, data and impact reports and accreditations like B Corp statuses, that tell fact-based stories of sustainability performance success while illustrating a company’s progress over time.
Repeat it. Again and again. Your purpose, mission, vision and values. When it comes to these - as serious agents of change - you want to be heard, not overheard.
Start making a real change.
Make use of these green marketing strategies to engage the tribes you wish to share stories with and listen to. They will be the ones that get behind you and your brand’s purpose. Don’t hold back on shouting your values, data and stories, from the rooftops to achieve those triple bottom line metrics that matter most to you and to our planet.