5 Must-know Green Marketing Strategies for a Successful Campaign
By Fiona M - Updated October 12, 2020
Promoting your business or products as environmentally friendly can go a long way to attracting eco-conscious consumers and increase overall customer affinity. Beware though… this approach also holds potential risks if executed incorrectly. Today, we will give you some advice on how to craft a message that will appeal to even the most discerning green consumers.
Let’s get right to it…
The Origins of Green Marketing
More than ever, society has become increasingly troubled by the environmental issues facing our planet and impacting our lives. Some major environmental threats such as air and water pollution, global warming and large-scale food waste are receiving major global attention and leading more people to take this ecological dilemma more seriously. A growing concern for the wellbeing of the environment has led millions of global consumers to engage in more socially-responsible purchasing decisions, despite their higher cost.
Embracing this trend, organizations and manufacturers are turning to green marketing strategies aimed at attracting these consumers by addressing their social consciousness and sense of environmental responsibility, thereby influencing their purchasing decisions.
Simply put, green marketing is the process of promoting products or services based on their environmental benefits. These products or services may be environmentally friendly in themselves or produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
Although terms like “recyclable,” “organic” or “eco-friendly” are widely used by environmentally conscious companies, green marketing is a far broader concept applied to consumer goods, industrial goods and some services. Green marketing incorporates a variety of activities, including modifications to products, changes to the production and distribution processes, packaging changes, and adjustments to marketing communications.
Green Marketing Strategy Objectives
Green marketing strategies should employ both inbound and outbound marketing messages, focused primarily on your company’s sustainable endeavors. The objective is to highlight your organization’s identity, it’s eco-efforts, and most importantly, why it matters. When done correctly a green marketing strategy will not only boost your brand reputation but also give you a unique advantage over your competitors.
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To Do or Not to Do
The following 5 practices are essential in the development of an effective sustainable marketing strategy and give your green marketing efforts some much-needed momentum.
1. The Power is in the Message
An effective green marketing message should be about communicating that which strengthens your brand in a compelling and persuasive way. It should be viewed as a chance to make a statement about your company’s purpose and the societal impact of your endeavors, not as an opportunity to engage in unabashed and blatant self-promotion.
An effective green marketing message aims to combine education with marketing. For consumers who are already green-aware, your message should provide proof that your company is not only “talking the talk” but “walking the walk” in its green efforts.
For those consumers who may not yet be fully aware of all the implications, you will need to take a more educational role. This means that your messaging will need to demonstrate why the ideas you raise are important, what they mean for sustainability, and how consumers can feel part of the solution by choosing your company and its offerings.
2. Steer Clear of Greenwashing
Greenwashing refers to the practice of companies or organizations spending more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimizing their environmental impact.
Greenwashing is considered a deceitful advertising gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands.
Often products paint a broad picture by using terminology like “environmentally friendly” or “eco-safe,” but by being deliberately vague, little to no information is actually conveyed.
Responsible companies and watchdog groups have had their guard up against greenwashing for quite some time. It still happens, but the purveyors are often called out and they come to regret their over-hyped green claims.
Tips for avoiding greenwashing
- Let the Product Speak for Itself. Let the benefits of the product show the public that it Is environmentally friendly.
- Be honest and transparent.
- Communicate effectively.
- Be consistent in your reports and claims.
3. Green Blushing Won’t Get You Anywhere Either
Green blushing, on the other hand, is the growing practice of firms hiding their environmental endeavors. Green blushing can be defined as “limited or no information disseminated by an organization so as to understate or ignore its commitment to and actions on environmental responsibility.”
Organizations often resort to green blushing out of concern for having their motives or level of success questioned. If, for example, energy efficiency efforts have had a positive effect on their energy costs and improved the bottom line, then they worry about disclosing the self-serving benefits of such efforts. Unfortunately, as a green manufacturer, a failure to promote your efforts tells your customers that you’re disengaged and non-committal.
By being too modest you could cripple your green marketing efforts and waste a key messaging opportunity.
4. Align Brand Identity with Sustainability
These days a short statement on your website or amendment to your mission statement about your company’s green efforts is simply not enough anymore. As a company committed to green manufacturing and environmentally conscious practices it is critical that your brand identity be aligned with a purpose-driven mission. Sustainability should not merely be a footnote but rather at the core of your company’s very identity.
5. Keep the Supply Chain Green
With the growing awareness of environmental issues and a movement to more responsible business practices, consumers are more likely to ask questions about the products they are purchasing. Companies can expect to be asked about their green manufacturing processes and supply chain, the extent of their carbon footprint as well as their recycling efforts.
Green supply chain management can be defined as integrating environmental thinking into supply-chain management, including product design, material sourcing and selection, manufacturing processes, delivery of the final product as well as end-of-life management of the product after its useful life.
In a Nutshell
Sustainability and environmental responsibility should always be a key component of any business strategy and taking the time and initiative to acknowledge these green practices in all marketing efforts is paramount when aiming to influence and engage today’s socially-conscious consumer.