Promote your business as ec0-friendly with these green marketing strategies that improve your brand perception in an authentic way
All across the country, businesses are trying to do their part to protect the planet. Although global polyethylene production is still around 80 million tons each year, organizations are trying to reduce their dependency on ecologically harmful materials, conserve valuable resources, and lower their carbon footprint.
If yours is among those businesses, you’ll stand do to more than help the environment and decrease your overall costs. If you play your cards right, you can improve your brand perception and might even make a real name for yourself within your industry. However, it’s important to market these eco-friendly efforts properly.
Let’s talk a bit about green marketing — chiefly, what it is and how it’s done — in order for you to promote your business to the best of your ability.
What is Green Marketing, Anyway?
For any business, good marketing is a must. But it’s about more than promoting a new product and sending out press releases. You can put a spin on a typical marketing campaign by highlighting what your brand is doing to support the environment. That, in a nutshell, is green marketing.
When a company has made a commitment to eco-responsibility and sustainability, it makes perfect sense that they’d want to highlight their ongoing efforts in their marketing. If, for example, your business has switched to solar energy (which accounts for 1.8% of all U.S. electricity production), you’re manufacturing products using renewable materials and zero-waste principles, or you’ve made changes to your services that highlight the use of non-toxic chemicals and sustainable practices, you’ll definitely want to feature those changes as part of your ongoing marketing strategy.
Data shows that green marketing, when done correctly, can be extremely impactful. One study found that 48% of U.S. consumers say they’d probably or definitely change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. In fact, a staggering 90% of millennials say they’re willing to pay more for products that have environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients. Not surprisingly, products with sustainable features are expected to make up 25% of store sales in 2021. By positioning your company as part of the global solution, you stand to gain a lot.
How Can My Business Promote Environmental Responsibility?
Now that you know what green marketing is and why it’s beneficial, it’s time to look at how to (and how not to) do it.
First, it’s important to understand the difference between genuine green marketing and greenwashing. Greenwashing refers to the practice of giving misleading information or impression of a business and their products as being more environmentally friendly without the data to back up these claims. In essence, businesses that partake in this practice will try to convince customers that their products or services are beneficial to the earth when they might actually be harmful.
In order to not engage in or be accused of greenwashing, companies need to be transparent about the sustainability of their products or services. You should be prepared to show proof (or, better yet, provide it upfront!) of how your company is helping the planet and avoid making vague statements. If you can’t achieve a legitimate certification or offer important data to back up your claims, it’s actually better not to make any at all. And if you aren’t able to promote sustainability in more than one product or service, you might want to hold off on creating an entire marketing campaign until you can take additional steps towards sustainability.
Even if you’re making internal changes to your business, you should take the time to build a green culture before announcing anything in a formal way. For instance, if you’ve done your part to reduce water waste within your offices but you’re still leaving the lawn sprinklers on for your landscaping (as most lawns require an inch of water each week), locals might accuse your company of being dishonest or of failing to see the big picture of sustainability.
However, if you’ve done the hard work and are ready to market your business’s sustainable efforts, here are a few tips you may want to consider.
- Clearly Define Your Eco-Friendly Brand: If your company is really serious about making sustainability a priority, it may be time to ensure your branding aligns with that cause. In order to ensure a full buy-in of environmental responsibility and make sure everyone knows about your green ethos, you may want to consider revamping your brand identity to fit that image. As a bonus, this is a great way to garner some press coverage and solidify your position as a leader in your industry.
- Support Your Local Community: Focusing on your locality can be an excellent means of supporting sustainability and improve your brand perception. Keep in mind that the Harvard Business Review reports that 72% of people believe locally-owned businesses are more likely to be involved in improving their communities than large companies are. By partnering with local organizations on green initiatives, you can support worthy causes, get some coverage, and give back to individuals within your area. It can also be a good way to get your employees involved and invested in these eco-conscious efforts.
- Seek Out Assessments and Certifications: By going green, businesses can earn points towards specific certifications or gain seals of approval from eco-friendly organizations. This can act as a major selling point for your business and provide you with a sense of authenticity that convinces customers to support you. By seeking out assessments or earning certifications, you’ll be able to hold yourself accountable and show consumers you’re serious about your commitments. Of course, these achievements can make an excellent marketing topic.
It’s become clear that individual businesses have to lead the way to environmental sustainability in order to stay competitive and protect our precious resources. By knowing how to effectively market these efforts, you can leverage all that hard work into major success.
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