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The word ‘sustainability’ has almost become a buzzword. With an increasing consumer demand for sustainable practice within businesses, this term is being commonly used in the media. In some instances, perhaps it’s being used purely to capture the attention of the customer.

What is sustainable marketing and how can you leverage it?

In others, the severity of the issue is being properly and innovatively addressed. These instances are where the consumers can connect with a brands’ story and the level of authenticity at which they promote their value.

The issue of sustainability is one that relates to all industries. Energy, agriculture, design, construction, fashion and textiles, consumer packaged goods, transportation, and now, we’re directed to this notion of ‘sustainable marketing’.

Let’s understand the concept of sustainable marketing. Truly, what is it?

Sustainable marketing refers to the promotion of ethically, socially, and environmentally responsible businesses or practice – more specifically, promotion in relation to a brand’s product or service offerings.

Brands established with sustainability in mind will organically incorporate sustainable marketing into their strategy. In addition to this, those brands that may not particularly be centered around sustainability can still apply the sustainable marketing principles to their practice.

A common theme which links to the challenges that businesses are facing in their sustainable development journey is engaging management and staff, to facilitate the transition from traditional corporate norms to a shifted, sustainability focused perspective. The idea of sustainability in business is one that may not necessarily fit neatly into the conventional ‘box’. It’s a long-term marketing strategy that requires open-mindedness and creativity to ideate and execute sustainable initiatives.

Another challenge is a lack of understanding of the severity of the issue, and the importance of demonstrating environmental and social responsibility as a business in general. Explaining the benefits of sustainable marketing from a stance of corporate social responsibility may aid the understanding of surrounding corporate executives. Coming up with cost-effective strategy that benefits the business and denotes a care regarding these social and environmental issues may also assist with this understanding and a clear communication of its importance.

Brands can leverage from sustainable marketing in a myriad of ways. The broad nature of sustainable marketing positions your brand to highlight its greater purpose, with a key focus on mission and vision. Demonstrating the core values of your business through sustainable marketing will assist in reflecting the sustainable focus your brand has taken on to your intended market.

Brand positioning is key when it comes to sustainable marketing practice. You want to clearly convey your sustainable initiatives, linking them to the core of your company and its overarching sustainability goals. Perhaps you can take inspiration from or make links to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, it is important to communicate this message authentically and organically, to meaningfully build customer relations and create positive associations with your brand. Honesty and integrity trump all, especially when marketing is taking ethically conscious initiatives. It is no secret that consumers heavily value transparency.

Showing consistency and continuity in your sustainable marketing strategy, whilst having a solid structure set in place to implement your chosen initiatives of sustainability will undoubtedly assist in leveraging your sustainable approach.

By doing so, you exemplify your professionalism and social awareness as a brand – alongside a demonstration of the progressive nature of your business, who carefully considers changing consumer demand and expectations and aligns their brand accordingly.

Overall, making use of sustainable marketing to highlight the corporate social responsibility and ethical consciousness of your brand will most certainly enable you to gain leverage from these initiatives. Despite the challenges that may be associated with implementing sustainable practices or sustainable marketing into a business, there is worthwhile benefit in doing so.

In your execution of strategy, don’t forget to maintain a level of consistency, to indicate your alignment with consumer perspective, conveying brand continuity and your core values. Brand positioning is vital when it comes to sustainable marketing – as the broad nature of sustainable marketing is centered around overarching messages and your company’s mission.

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