Like never before, sustainability is transforming business ethics, practice and performance. Whether it is for efficiency, marketing and promotional purposes, government regulation, or competitive advantage among increasingly educated and sensible consumers, sustainability is becoming a very hot topic.
As more of the world’s biggest and most influential brands aspire to transform their business as usual culture to a sustainable culture (on every level), the CEOs, Marketing directors and consultants, may face the new challenge of distinguishing their companies, products and services in an increasingly crowded and competitive sustainable marketplace.
So what is the role of branding in this new sustainability arena? How can branding advance sustainable practice and performance?
Like anything new in the business environment, sustainability requires a Re-imagination of the branding rules. The traditional branding exercise of a logo and a slogan, might not be enough in order to convince the employees and consumers that a specific brand is more sustainable or not.
How can branding help companies to reveal a more sustainable profile?
1. Consistency, promise and deliver: With all new technological tools and the widespread use of internet, consumers become more educated, aware and businesses should be more transparent. The branding exercise should be part of every single decision in the lifecycle of a product and/or service or even better, of an offered experience. In this way, this newly educated consumer will see consistency in every aspect of the entire business process.
2. Education: Sustainable branding means educate, engage and empower not only the employees (internal branding), but also the consumer. Businesses should communicate all additional values they bring with their sustainability process and how the individual consumer and the collective society will benefit from them.
3. Authenticity: It is clear that whatever “green” is a hot topic nowadays. Though, not every single “green” product, service and/or experience is real and authentic. As mentioned earlier, the consumer is getting smarter, more educated and is constantly searching for true meaning through her purchases. This new reality means companies must communicate their sustainability strategies in ways that connect the consumer-facing brand story with the authentic corporate back story. It’s not just about crafting the right marketing message. It’s about illuminating facts with truthful, emotionally resonant stories.
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