Sustainability as a concept, though very important, is fairly new. Humankind has been destroying the environment and it's resources without thinking about future generations and not realising that resources are limited. Sustainability means meeting our present needs but also not compromising resources for our future generations. With growing consciousness and awareness about our declining environmental quality, consumers and businesses are both making efforts to be a little more sustainable in their way of life. Businesses are also striving to achieve sustainability by using limited and alternate resources or supporting a sustainable cause in their way.
Businesses are going the sustainable way to be a socially responsible organisation and be competitive in today's scenario and be future-ready. The expectations of corporate responsibility are increasing, and just good intention is not enough. Consumers are also actively seeking brands which are making a difference and are demonstrating strong ethics and sustainable development goals. Hence, brands and businesses are trying to include sustainable business marketing in their brand marketing strategy.
What is sustainable business marketing?
Sustainable marketing is developing and marketing products and services that are sustainable, that is, products or services which meet the consumer's needs and utilise environmental resources responsibly. It is eco-friendly and socially responsible marketing it to the consumers but not limited to that. It is much more meaningful and requires businesses to understand:
- Understand the customer's values and beliefs related to sustainability
- Be updated about evolving sustainable landscape
- Cultivate a positive relationship with the environment, consumers, and other stakeholders at the same time
Why are sustainability and sustainable business marketing important?
A report by CII-AT Kearney on sustainable retail states that around 70% of those surveyed in India said that they look for brands that are sustainable and trustworthy. This shows that Indian shoppers are increasingly aware of what and where they are buying. They are consciously making the switch to sustainable and environmental alternatives. Millennials and Gen Z's, who are the primary consumers in today's world, are very environmentally conscious and find ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
Though appealing to the consumers who want marketers and brands to take a stand for environmental concerns and personal satisfaction is one reason sustainability is important for a business, there are many other reasons and motivations for a business to go the sustainable way and use sustainable business marketing.
- Facilitates innovation and efficient business practices
- Fosters good relations with community, employees, and stakeholders
- Enhances brand awareness and builds credibility
- Attracts new prospects, employees, and consumers
- Increases brand loyalty and consumer sales
- The joy and the fulfilment of moral responsibility of contributing to a better tomorrow
Though sustainability is all about your business's core belief, the path to practice and achieve sustainability is not an easy one. Here we are sharing some ways which can help you build a sustainable future for your business and the community.
Keep revisiting your business belief and mission
To remind yourself what you are working for and keeping your motivated
To adapt to the situation and find ways to stay afloat during tough times
Focus on providing high value
To make most out of the existing resources and creating a value proposition
To reimagine everything and find new ways to do business while retaining the core belief
How can you use sustainable business marketing for your small/medium venture?
If you are successful in paving a sustainable road for your business, don't shy away from telling your customers about your business through sustainable business marketing. Attract more consumers by effectively marketing your company and highlighting your company's eco-friendly practices.
Here are some ways in which you can use sustainable business marketing for your small business.
Use eco-friendly signs and logos.
Make your sustainable business easily identifiable by using a range of prominent eco-friendly signs and logos. You can start with the arrow logo, which is the standard symbol, and experiment more later. Earth symbol, green leaves, green colour are some of the other options to make your business easily recognised as sustainable.
Utilise digital marketing
Digital marketing is one of the most affordable forms of marketing, and it's also extremely efficient and effective. A bonus advantage is that it's more environment friendly than any other traditional method. Social media allows you to interact with your audience in real-time and receive feedback as well.
Share your sustainable goals with the public and invite them to be a part of it.
Share your small business's values and goals through your company website, social media, and all of the communication that is going out. Your customers will come to you because they share your beliefs and want to help you achieve your goal. Share your production process and openly talk about what sustainable approach you are taking in your business to reach out to relevant audiences.
Collaborate and support other organisations who share the same beliefs and goals. This will help you spread the word to sustainable consumers of the other brands and help you provide efficient services and products to your consumers.
This can be an excellent opportunity to scale, but only if you find the right brand to collaborate with.
Things to keep in mind about sustainable business marketing:
- Your sustainable marketing goal should be to be eco-friendly and improve the quality of life around while promoting your sustainable products and services
- Consumers are now more aware and informed; hence you need to be transparent and authentic in your communication and your dedication to save the planet
- Take the help of traditional marketing methods to get inspired for your sustainable marketing initiatives
- The principal focus of the business should be providing value to the customer via customer-oriented marketing.
- The business should be socially responsible and profitable at the same time to serve its employees, consumers, and stakeholders better.
- The business should embrace change and continuously seek innovation to be more efficient.
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Q. Is sustainable marketing beneficial in the current scenario?
Ans: Yes, it is! There is an increase in consumer awareness locally as well as globally. This has given rise to multiple sustainability initiatives from various companies and even the government. People are looking forward to locally sourced brands and boycotting foreign brands that don't add any value to the environment. Public policies and regulations are also mandating more sustainable practices and responsible use of resources. The current scenario demands every business to be sustainable in a competitive space and increase consumer loyalty.
Q. Are there any sustainable marketing principles?
Ans: There are five sustainable marketing principles that you can apply to your business
- Organise your marketing activities keeping consumer perspectives in mind
- Set most of your resources into customer- value marketing to earn profits and manage the business efficiently
- Continuously innovate and seek improvements
- Define your missions to serve better your employees, customers, and all the stakeholders
- Marketing for the benefit of society
Q. Which big brands are doing sustainable business marketing?
Ans: Here are some sustainable brands that are using sustainable business marketing:
- Amazon has an entire hub that addresses all the environmental issues and participates in sustainable approaches to promote their initiatives.
- Consumer goods giant Unilever is working on its three big goals: promoting the well being of at least 1 billion people, reducing half of their product's carbon footprint, and sourcing all its agricultural products sustainably.