Green marketing has become one of the hottest corporate buzz phrases in recent years. In a bid to capture the growing market of globally-conscious consumers, companies have implemented a host of environmentally-friendly practices.
Green marketing essentially involves selling products and services based on their environmental benefits. Although these marketing efforts coincide with companies’ corporate social responsibility, they nevertheless highlight the challenges that many green businesses face.
Marketing can be tricky in the green niche because consumers are wary of brands that they perceive as inauthentic. On the other hand, people are more likely to purchase your product or service if they believe you support a cause they support.
How Green Is Your Business?
There are many ways in which companies can engage in green marketing. They may implement waste and emissions-control measures, reduce their carbon footprints, and modify their manufacturing processes to be more environmentally-friendly. They may also offer non-toxic products, switch to reusable packaging, and utilize biodegradable materials. These and other environmentally-conscious practices reinforce a brand’s commitment to “going green.”
How To Make Your Marketing Efforts More Eco-Friendly
- Focus on Culture
One of the most effective ways to communicate your brand’s eco-friendly approach is to emphasize your green culture. Every aspect of your business, from your day-to-day activities to your mission and vision statement, should revolve around how you implement green practices and how you strive to operate in a more environmentally-friendly manner. You can harness social media culture for this purpose, using its ability to amplify messages by focusing on the values of the eco-friendly segment of your audience.
- Support the Community
It would also be helpful to get involved with the local community and to involve key individuals and local organizations in your own green efforts. You could sponsor events that benefit environmental charities, for example or launch environmentally-friendly initiatives with the help of the city or town council. You could also provide incentives for your employees to join in on community-based environmental efforts.
- Show Your Actions
Remember to promote your company’s involvement in local green campaigns by documenting events with photos and videos. By posting these on your social media channels or your blog, you reinforce your corporate image as a company that gets involved at a grassroots level, which is always an effective credibility booster. Community organizations will also appreciate the added exposure that you provide via your social media network.
Short, informative explainer videos can be very useful for showcasing your efforts to support environmental sustainability. You can condense fairly complex topics into simple and understandable terms, and deliver your message via an easy to digest video that audiences will find engaging and compelling. Because 95% of viewers retain information from videos more effectively than from text, you have a much better chance of connecting with your target audience.
- Prioritize Transparency and Communication
Image and reputation are among a company’s biggest strengths. It is always important to establish and preserve a good reputation, but it is especially crucial when engaging in green marketing. Because the green effort is intrinsically tied in with values, you will want your brand to remain consistent with these values.
It is just as important to be transparent about your operations to build trust with your audience. People respond to brands that they perceive as authentic, so building an image of transparency and open communication are vital. You will find it beneficial to communicate with people on social media so that your audience has a convenient and accessible platform on which they could keep track of your sustainability efforts.
- Meet People on Their Level
Another important aspect of green marketing is relating to audiences on their level. Apart from genuineness and authenticity, people are also looking for companies that they can forge a strong connection with and relate with on more than a business-customer level. When your audience perceives your company as genuine, they are much more likely to place their trust in you and support your green initiatives.
You can build a more customer-friendly and approachable image by associating your green efforts with real-world examples. You could show how your products and processes reduce wastewater for example, or how your clean-up drives benefit communities. You could also actively engage with audiences via your blog or social media channels, ensuring a two-way flow of communication in which everyone can participate and provide input.
Examples of Environmentally Friendly Companies
Three companies that have made significant advances in green marketing are Patagonia, Ikea, and Seventh Generation.
Patagonia is an outdoor and adventure-wear brand with a mission statement that centers on building the best products, causing no unnecessary harm, and using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. To achieve these goals, the company utilizes only organic cotton that meets the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). More than 56% of its fabrics are bluesign® certified, and most are made from recycled fabrics.
Patagonia is also part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and 1% For The Planet. In contrast to most other clothing companies, Patagonia encourages its customers to repair and reuse their products instead of making new purchases.
Ikea is the biggest furniture retailer in the world, with more than 400 stores in several countries, a workforce of over 170,000 employees, and more than 915 million customers every year. The company is currently operating according to a ‘People & Planet Positive’ plan, which details its sustainability strategy until 2020.
Among the objectives of the plan are obtaining all wood, paper, and cardboard materials from more sustainable sources, using cotton only from other equally sustainable sources, and improving the sustainability of 90% of its own products. The plan also outlines processes by which the company could produce as much renewable energy as it uses.
Seventh Generation, Inc. is a U.S.-based manufacturer of cleaning, paper, and personal care products. The largest eco-friendly cleaning supplies firm in the country, it espouses a commitment to health and sustainability that is based on industry leadership, consumer goodwill, and accelerated growth.
Seventh Generation has spearheaded the practice of labeling its products with its ingredients, with retail chains such as Target and Wal-Mart subsequently following suit. By declaring their chemical policy and transparency and making high-quality environmentally-friendly products, the company is at the forefront of raising the sustainability standards of the manufacturing industry.