Posted Wednesday, 1 December at 9:13 am in Productivity
Marketing communications are critical for raising awareness of your organisation’s sustainability charter:
If you believe all that, then you’ll agree that it’s vital for companies to create a credible market-facing image around sustainability. In today’s market, sustainability credentials are fast becoming an expected rather than an augmented product feature. If you’re slow to market with these messages, you’ll never catch up.
As such, now is not the time to stop reading this article and tell me that talking about sustainability with your customers is irrelevant in your industry or line of work. It’s not only large mining and petroleum companies that consume the earth’s resources. If your business operates in the real world, it’s a consumer of the earth, so how can sustainability not be a relevant topic – particularly when your customers are growing more environmentally conscious every day?
So, if you’re a marketer, it’s time to get to know your sustainability officer or equivalent – think office manager or managing director if you’re an SME – and start weaving your environmental story into your promotional materials and activities in ways that engage customers and support your corporate image and value proposition.
Rest assured that marketing your sustainability efforts doesn’t require knowledge or skills you don’t already have as a marketer (this is why the term ‘green marketing’ is a myth, since it implies that acting responsibly is optional rather than just a part of good marketing practice). Marketing sustainability follows all the normal rules of marketing, i.e:
This inside-out approach positions sustainability alongside other more traditional brand attributes such as price, quality and performance, enabling it to function as a natural (rather than artificial or contrived) extension of your brand offering.
Once you have this foundation, you can work on bringing sustainability to life for your customers through sophisticated messaging and innovative executions. The key is not to think of your environmental credentials as something you tag on to a campaign or communications piece at the last minute – they have to be part of your brand plan from the get-go. If you take shortcuts, your sustainability messages will stick out like a sore thumb, rather than a green thumb (pardon the pun).
The brands that market their sustainability initiatives well (think Toyota or GE) put sustainability at the core of their brand strategy – it’s a consideration when deciding any and all of the 4Ps. Any other approach just pays lip service to the green movement. The flow-on effect is marketing communications that are genuine and believable. It’s the old adage – actions speak louder than words.