A sustainable marketing campaign is a simple and effective way to share eco-conscious aspects of your brand. However, positioning your brand as a sustainable role-model cannot happen overnight, nor through a single campaign.
Marketing sustainability must be done in many little steps and requires a holistic strategy of any project or product. There are, nonetheless, a few things that will help you to avoid common pitfalls and you should keep in mind when planning your next sustainable marketing campaign.
Five things you can do:
1. Make your customer the hero
Put the consumer in the forefront of your marketing communication. THEY are the heroes for using sustainable products and reducing their impact on our planet, not your brand. Celebrate your customer for choosing to support your mission for sustainability, or for paying a premium for sustainable material.
Don’t Say: Our cleaning solutions are biodegradable and non-toxic.
Do say: Every time you clean your bathroom with our biodegradable and non-toxic solution, you are reducing the level of harmful chemicals in the water system.
2. Incorporate traceability into your communication
Sustainability goes hand in hand with traceability. Shine a spotlight on your supply-chain and give consumers the tools to trace where all elements of a product come from. Give details of a product’s water and carbon footprint or give evidence of your animal welfare policies. Be truthful in your reporting and although it may not be a perfect net-zero carbon product, it will show that you are aware of your impact and that you are trying to minimise it as much as possible.
Don’t say: 100% sustainable cashmere wool.
Do say: Cashmere wool certified by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance. Discover which region of Mongolia your sweater came from by entering your unique code into our online Traceability maps.
3. Communicate sustainable features as a bonus
Keep on focussing on the USP’s of your product and not exclusively on the sustainable aspects of your product only because they are better for the environment.
Don’t say: Our swimsuits are made from 100% recycled plastic from discarded fishing nets.
Do say: Our swimsuits, made from ECONYL® regenerated nylon, are durable and comfortable.
4. Be transparent
Be specific about what you do and communicate in an authentic and transparent way. The modern, woke consumer demands transparency and authenticity. They want to work for and purchase from brands that are proving to serve the needs of the world. But that does not mean that they will champion you for doing so. Your messaging should make them feel virtuous about choosing to support you.
Don’t say: We will plant a tree with every purchase.
Do say: Your purchase will support our reforestation project in Madagascar with *insert reforestation project partner*.
5. Keep on innovating
You are being called upon to be creative. Reimagine your existing products and build new ones. Keep looking for ways to improve. Think about your supply chain, and once you’ve tackled that, turn to your business model, operations, and processes. There will always be an area to improve.
Don’t say: We have a perfect sustainable product.
Do say: Now that we have sustainable materials for our product, we are switching the energy source of the machines to renewable. We are going paperless in all our communication. We are eliminating single-use plastics from our office spaces.
As marketeers, we can influence our consumers and their shopping habits. Make it your mission to promote awareness for the social and environmental issues that your brand is tackling and give your consumer the information they need to make the sustainable choice.