Green Marketing: How to Get Your Brand’s Message Right

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The private sector has invested substantially in lowering carbon emissions and creating lasting, impactful changes for how they do business. The focus on sustainability isn’t about marketing; it’s about doing the right thing.

Still, brands need to communicate their eco-friendly accomplishments, policies and goals to accelerate industry-wide change and appeal to consumers who care – deeply – about climate change.

What Is Green Marketing?

Also called sustainability marketing, green marketing campaigns promote a brand’s commitment to advancing environmentally friendly products, services and processes. While many of these campaigns are focused on carbon emissions, brands also promote related efforts, such as:

  • Using recycled materials in products and packaging
  • Investing in underserved communities
  • Purchasing carbon offsets
  • Shifting towards more sustainable business practices
  • Donating proceeds to environmental, educational and social justice nonprofits

Going Green Has Its Perks

Organizations that make sustainable changes tap into more than 100 million sustainability-minded consumers worldwide. Promoting your environmental chops has substantial benefits and challenges, and every brand needs to think the process through.

The Benefits of Green Marketing

Celebrating your brand’s environmental mission and sustainability bona fides can:

  • Improve brand visibility
  • Differentiate your brand from competitors
  • Build customer loyalty

Challenges of Green Marketing

It’s not all sunshine and granola. Level-set expectations with the nitty-gritty reality of investing in genuine  environmental change.

  • Investing in sustainable infrastructure can be expensive, which inhibits marketing talking points
  • Risk of negative perception if you can’t walk the walk

Greenwashing: What It Is and Why It’s Ugly

Greenwashing is making public claims of green business practices without actually making or meeting those goals. Brands may slap “green” or “natural” on packaging to capitalize on the lack of regulation around these terms.

Other forms of greenwashing include:

  • Changing packaging to feature leaves, trees or other “natural” imagery without making sustainability improvements to the product
  • Funding or promoting misleading environmental studies that make business-as-usual seem more sustainable
  • Failing to meet corporate environmental commitments or goals

Brands that purposefully engage in greenwashing face severe public backlash. Some of the world’s biggest brands, including Coca-Cola and Starbucks, have been caught making misleading claims about their environmental goals or failing to meet their timelines.

Do Customers Care About Sustainability?

With so much on the line, is it worth promoting your eco-friendly habits to the world? Do customers really care?

They sure do. According to a 2020 survey from McKinsey, 60% of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for a product that uses sustainable packaging. The eco-friendly focus starts before consumers are at point-of-purchase – 78% of consumers are actively working to be more sustainable.

The same survey found that products making environmental social governance (ESG) claims grew revenue by 8% more than non-ESG products. Based on these metrics, brands can’t afford to discount the immediate and long-term importance of sustainability to consumers.

Customers care. You care. Then why is it so hard to get eco-marketing right?

Sustainability Campaign Ideas

Companies that use green marketing first need to make real, impactful changes to how they do business. Once your organization can quantify the impact of those changes, then it’s time to celebrate those positive changes with customers.

Make it official – Find third-party organizations that certify sustainability efforts like energy efficiency improvements, fair trade sourcing and other ESG goals.

Know the numbers – Making the switch to recycled packaging? Calculate the environmental impact and measure the long-term benefits to the environment. Be prepared to back up your claims.

It’s all about energy – Make energy efficiency upgrades to lower carbon emissions (and your operating costs!). Don’t rule out onsite renewable energy generation, either. Adding solar panels or wind power to your facility is a smart investment in your company’s future.

Create ESG-focused campaigns – If you aren’t sure how to promote your sustainability investments, work with an experienced digital marketing agency. From design to development to public relations, messaging matters. Oneupweb can craft specific campaigns to shape the conversation the right way.

Make a Sustainability Statement with Green Marketing

Private companies and organizations are driving a global shift toward an eco-friendly future. Oneupweb is proud to work with brands committed to global change and to spread their message across markets and industries. Contact us or call (231) 922-9977 to get started.

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