Our planet has big problems, and we all know it. Entrepreneurs across the globe are stepping up to the plate by creating sustainable technologies, and one of their main goals is to address the climate crisis and other significant environmental challenges. As a business owner or marketer, it is time to wake up to this fact. As environmental issues continue to take up more bandwidth in media exposure, green marketing will become the foundation of many brands’ modern marketing strategies. Green issues can be divisive topics, but this reality is growing in importance every day in the minds of consumers, and it is essential to be on the caring side of this argument.
Which Green Issues Are Consumers Concerned About?
Today, many consumers are very much aware of their own impact, their favourite brands’ impact, and on the environment and society. The environmental issues which stand out most are the following:
1. Global warming
2. Plastic Pollution
4. Biodiversity loss
5. Agriculture-meat consumption
6. Air pollution
7. Food Waste
8. Melting of icecaps and rise of sea level
10. Ocean acidification
11. Fair trade
12. Food and water security
This is not an exhaustive list, but these environmental issues are worth mentioning. If your business impacts any of these issues, now is an excellent time to think about adjusting your strategy and opting for green marketing within your campaigns.
What is Green Marketing?
There is a good chance you have seen a green marketing campaign without realizing it. In 2014, Tide launched a new product that encouraged consumers to switch from using hot water to cold water to wash their clothes – their Tide Coldwater Clean detergent was formulated to work better in cold-water washes. With this product, switching to cold water helps consumers to save money and energy, ultimately benefiting the environment.
Another super brand is Ford with their green marketing approach – their eco-friendly ethos permeates everything done by the auto manufacturer. In 2004, a vast green roof initiative was undertaken – the 10.4-acre Ford Truck Plant green roof project was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest living green roof. It jump-started the early North American green roof industry. Two Ford models are built nearly entirely from recycled materials, and the company also relies on 100% recycled fabric seating surfaces produced from post-industrial waste. In addition, their iconic F-150 truck has an electric version as of 2021.
Green marketing is about highlighting a product or service’s environmental benefits, while also illustrating how brands are changing their practices to be more environmentally aware – for example, we often see terms like “eco-friendly,” “recyclable,” “sustainable,” “environmental,” “plastic-free,” etc. Green marketing is not simply the act of giving lip service to caring for the environment, but making an actual effort – whether by offering services, designing products, or building a corporate culture that contribute to a positive impact on the environment.
The concept of green marketing goes beyond the simple messaging of ‘buy me’ type of advertising or selling. Not only are you telling the consumer about the product, but you are also aligning yourself with what the consumer cares about and finds important. For example, this could include: products being free of toxins and chemicals, using recyclable packaging, or sustainable design.
Many companies are moving towards green marketing as a part of their overall strategy of social responsibility. This idea of social responsibility is becoming a big part of company culture, where there is an awareness and sensitivity to concerns facing society and the environment. Green marketing can become an essential component in many industries – it is really a matter of corporate will and leadership. Since marketing is all about messaging the right customer, knowing your audience’s attitude is essential.
Green Marketing Principles
The following is a set of principles specific to green marketing, which includes the following components:
For your marketing to work, credibility needs to be established for your product or service. This is even more important when it comes to making claims of what an eco-friendly product does and does not do. All claims must be backed with honest facts and be transparent – consider using leading third-party sources for certification.
Customers need to feel empowered by your green marketing messages. Does the eco-friendly product or service you are selling enable customers to feel they are making a difference? Do your customers feel empowered by the idea that they are contributing to a better world? If not, then there is no point to your green product or service.
Do not create a green product while continuing non-socially-responsible business practices. You do not want to be greenwashing – any efforts in your green marketing will hit a wall. Making a product or service seem eco-friendly when it is not is a sure-fire way to be seen as a fake.
Give consumers all the information necessary to understand the societal or environmental benefits of your product or service – this helps to create loyalty surrounding your brand. Ensure an educational component is incorporated into the marketing plan by highlighting benefits, research which supports company claims, and testimonials.
Finally, by blending the right products and promotions within a culture of social responsibility, a company can show its sensitivity and concerns facing society and the environment. It will strike the right chord with your eco-friendly consumers.
Need clarity on your green marketing strategies? Give us a call at 514-349-9702.