Alex Willcocks, Co-Founder of Digital Marketing Agency Engage, discusses why businesses should invest in sustainability marketing and how they can best showcase their credentials.
Sustainability isn’t only great for people and the planet, it’s great for business too.
Customers today have their pick of competitively priced, high quality products and services. Adopting a visible and positive stance on the issues of environment, social and governance (ESG) that is authentic and aligned to consumer values will make a business stand out from the crowd.
Thanks to the climate crisis and COVID-19, sustainability has never been so high on the consumer agenda. It’s therefore important that brands communicate their efforts clearly to drive loyalty in current customers, and generate new business.
Evidence repeatedly shows that investment in combating the challenges faced by ESG increases business profits, with eight out of 10 customers happy to pay a 20 percent premium for products and services delivered through sustainable practices1.
While companies should invest in environmentally friendly initiatives to take care of the planet, businesses leading the way in sustainability, especially from a marketing perspective, are often proven to financially outperform those lagging behind.
A new international study by Unilever revealed that a third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good2.
A strong story is a powerful marketing tool with a proven positive influence on both brand and reputation. Aligning with what consumers care about also builds equity and value, and mitigates key challenges including strengthening stakeholder relationships, increasing attractiveness to investors, and offering a competitive advantage in a crowded market.
This is particularly true for Gen-Z and Millennials who are increasingly using their spending power to affect the change they want to see. In fact, 58 percent of Gen-Z and 61 percent of millennials would pay more for eco-friendly products3.
While the future of business holds unparalleled opportunities, this is reserved for organisations which have a proven positive influence on society and the environment, and use marketing to showcase this effectively. Inaction can risk significant negative financial impacts and slower growth.
How to market?
It can be challenging to understand where to start when it comes to marketing and showcasing credentials to consumers and stakeholders.
Posting across multiple internal and external channels for different brands, audiences and purposes can lead to inconsistent content, limited visibility, duplication of internal effort, and complex user journeys. Sustainability hubs are a great option for brands keen to invest in marketing. A centralised, user-friendly hub facilitates engaging content aimed at all audiences, which provides clear insights into a brand’s eco-friendly efforts.
Businesses should also consider supplementing their external marketing strategy with internal training and education as this can lead to a cultural shift amongst employees, and greater movement towards sustainably conscious leadership. A study by SHRM found that morale was 55 percent improved in companies with strong sustainability programs, and employee loyalty was 38 percent higher4.
Securing eco-credentials should be a priority for all companies, no matter their sector or customer-base, and sharing these externally is a great method of driving customer loyalty, invigorating investment and encouraging other organisations to follow suit.
Marketing in action
Sustainability is at the heart of everything that Taylors of Harrogate do, however the company previously had no single resource for consumers to find out about the projects, hard work and success stories.
The tea and coffee merchant invested in an innovative hub and interactive annual reports in December 2019 to ensure the wealth of content is easily accessible and to drive engagement around its sustainability journey.
For more information on how sustainability marketing can transform your business, please visit: