As the public concern, for a greener world continues to strengthen, companies can no longer afford to ignore the significance of its impact on the market place.
Implementing a sustainability plan and marketing these efforts to the public has become a must-have piece to the strategy puzzle. Consumers prefer to support corporations that share their ideals -companies they trust to be ‘good’ for the community; those who they perceive are acting responsibly by supporting the social, environmental and economic needs.
According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainable marketing or green marketing is the marketing of products that are environmentally conscious. In essence, it is telling the story of how a company is making efforts to help improve the world. Anything from reducing the materials needed for production and implementing a companywide recycling Programme, to creating community outreach programs or buying only locally grown, organic products can be of importance to a consumer.
Finding a balance
It’s one thing to implement strategies to become a more sustainable company, by reducing the inevitable carbon footprint caused by the distribution of products and services; it’s another to do so while remaining successful and competitive in the consumer market place. Products and services should be environmentally preferable but the tradeoff cannot be price quality or convenience.
To achieve sustainable marketing, companies need to regulate prices and effectively communicate with consumers. It entails consideration of every touchpoint and how it affects the consumer, the environment and the community.
Similarly, if the process of acquiring a product or service is considered inconvenient consumers are likely to look at the competition. Green initiatives must, therefore, be balanced with consumer needs: while consumers may want to support a company that supports the environment they will demand quality, cost appropriate and convenient products. Demonstrating that a corporation is focused on social, economic and environmental sustainability yet remains competitive in the market place ensures customer satisfaction and loyalty and improve a company’s overall reputation.
Shelton groups, an advertising agency focused on motivating consumers to make sustainable choices points out that, green consumers are not ‘green consumers’ they are the most, ‘desirable consumers.’ The group cares about sustainability and social responsibility. As they purchase products, they focus on putting their money where their values are and they see the brands they buy as outward expressions of their internal values.
In addition, Mondi South Africa is another example of companies that have embraced sustainable marketing strategies for their products. Their commitment to sustainability starts with how they design their products, select raw materials, choose energy sources and the distribution of products. This has helped the company stay on top of its competitors.
A truly sustainable company will push itself to change peoples’ lives and put their revenues to good use. Nedbank– a South African banking group is one example. They have put a lot of weight behind finding ways to support issues that matter to their consumers. Their most publicized campaign which garnered attention entailed turning a billboard into a solar panel platform for a local school.
Sustainable marketing is more than just looking at your marketing. It’s about making a decision that will change your trajectory forever. If you want your business to be remembered as one of the best then you have to start making changes today.
With the continued growth of social, economic and environmental concerns, throughout the world corporations have a unique opportunity through sustainable marketing: instead of continuing to add to the problem they can be part of the solution. Alter behaviors, encourage others to do so and properly market these efforts: the public will take notice.
And for those who don’t, the public will take notice too.