As climate change continues to dominate the headlines across the world, consumers are moving towards more eco-conscious choices. Everywhere you look at the moment you will see advertising campaigns focused on green, ethical or vegan products.
2019 was the year people stood up in front of our governments and world leaders and demanded real change. We also set our focus on big corporations and demanded that they start to change too. The result? A revolution in green consumerism, green marketing, green innovation, and green products being brought to the market.
Companies now need to be aware that their consumers and Millennials, in particular, want more transparency when it comes to a company’s operations and the products they produce. As The Economist predicted at the end of 2018, ‘Where millennials lead, businesses and governments will follow.’
What is green marketing?
Green marketing is when companies promote and sell their products based on their environmental benefits. In the UK, we have seen a number of marketing campaigns whose main focus is on a low carbon footprint, the reduction of resources and waste, biodegradable packaging and cruelty-free promises.
Modern consumers are becoming far more conscious of the environmental impacts of their buying habits and they want transparency. Green marketing aims to appeal to this demand.
This type of marketing may also be known as eco-marketing, eco-friendly marketing or environmental marketing. Consumers are able to make more ethical choices by looking for labels such as ‘organic’, ‘eco-friendly’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘recyclable’, ‘sustainable’, ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘vegan’.
Logos that demonstrate certain accreditations also play an important role, such as Fairtrade, Leaping Bunny, and the Rainforest Alliance.
Green marketing is about providing consumers with the trust that your business operations are actively mitigating their negative impact upon our planet. Eco-conscious consumers want to reduce their personal footprint as much as possible and so these eco-standards, accreditations, logos and labels are important to them. They can make the difference between a consumer buying a product, or not.
Green marketing is therefore extremely important, if not essential, for companies looking to grow in 2020.
The green marketing concept
Brands need to demonstrate to their consumers that they are taking serious action towards mitigating unnecessary damage to the environment. These actions include changing to more eco-friendly operations and systems, reducing waste, moving to eco-materials and partnering with other eco-friendly businesses or organisations.
Consumers don’t just want to hear that a business cares about the environment, they want to know specifically what they are doing to help with the environmental issues.
To do this successfully, brands need to adopt more sustainable business practices, demonstrate their corporate responsibility, reduce the number of resources being used and indicate how sustainable and eco-friendly their products or services are.
Green marketing is not about convincing consumers that you are doing something, it is about proving that you are doing something. Brands are being held accountable; those that evolve and change with the demand will continue to grow, and those that don’t will fail.
To take green marketing a step further, consumers also want to see your business doing more on the back end – including the types of suppliers you work with, the energy systems that are being used to produce goods, as well as information about ‘green partnerships’. This means partnerships which are helping to create a better world, whether it’s joining recycling programmes, donating to charities or actively supporting climate protests.
How do I integrate green marketing?
The first step to any business creating a successful green marketing campaign is to learn about the environmental issues that your consumers care about. Young Millennials are savvy when it comes to the authenticity of brands; they will know the difference between companies that are just pretending to care and those that genuinely want to help make a change. Developing an understanding and passion for the issues is the first crucial step.
Once you understand the core issues your consumers are concerned about you can start to develop your green marketing by formulating a particular ‘green message’. What will your brand focus on? It could be using less water, changing to eco-materials, new eco-packaging, cruelty-free products, fighting against plastic pollution, achieving Fair Trade accreditation or joining forces with an environmental charity.
Think carefully about your new green message. Once you have it, you can consider putting all the following into action:
- Communicate your green message through your advertising campaigns on TV, magazines, newspaper ads, radio, social channels etc.
- Promote your new green message via your content assets including social media pages, website, blog, email, chat system, e-newsletters, etc.
- Complete market research with existing or potential customers and discover what they would like to see and any recommendations they may have.
- Get strict on who you do business with. Do they reflect your new values? If not, ask them to change with you or find new ethical partners.
- Support eco-friendly initiatives, charities, programmes and education.
To transform your business into an eco-friendly organisation it’s imperative your business and team understand why you are doing it and be passionate about the changes you are making.
Be fully committed to your new eco-friendly operations, demonstrate clearly to your customers and team how you are doing it, why you are doing it and what you hope to achieve. This will help you to build trust between your brand and your stakeholders. You may even attract a whole new set of eco-conscious clients as a reward.
Companies with green marketing skills
There are already companies running hugely successful green marketing campaigns which are helping them to grow their business exponentially and take advantage of the ‘green revolution’.
The Body Shop
This cosmetic brand is well known throughout the world for being eco-conscious with its wide range of cruelty-free products and initiatives that help protect farmers, defend human rights, develop health programmes and encourage the use of sustainable materials.
On top of this, The Body Shop also helps raise awareness for domestic violence and AIDS, and never uses images that could be considered demeaning to women. The Body Shop are also on a mission to reduce their annual waste, move over to eco-friendly materials on all their products and change to renewable energy for their operations.
Rapanui are helping to change the way we consume fashion forever. All their products are responsibly made with natural materials, in a factory powered by renewable energy on the Isle of Wight in the UK. Each item of clothing is made to be ultra-durable to help fight against fast fashion’s destructive environmental footprint. Even the waste that is produced by the factory is upcycled into new products.
The clothing brand only produces items of clothing on a made-to-order basis. Therefore, there is never one T-shirt or pair of jeans that is made without an order from their customers.
Rapanui are proving to the world that fashion can be ethical, sustainable and still retain all the quality and style consumers demand.
Ecover has successfully established itself as the market leader in eco-friendly cleaning products. Everything they create is 100% natural and includes no phosphates and no hidden toxic chemicals. They have waged a war against plastic pollution, opting to use eco-materials for their packaging and bottles.
They have also created initiatives to reduce their carbon emissions and they regularly hold events in London promoting green cleaning and spreading the message of its importance to consumers and other businesses.
Ecover’s green marketing strategies are fun, playful and transparent. Ecover is a company that genuinely cares about what it is doing and its impact on ourselves, our families, our communities and the planet.
If you would like more information on how to plan and implement green marketing strategies, contact MAD Ideas today! We have lots of experience in this field and can’t wait to help you take your business to the next level, in a way which is kind to both people and the planet.
At MAD Ideas we’re doing our bit and offering green and eco-friendly products. We hope many other brands will follow suit and, together, we can save our beautiful planet!
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