Green marketing, *not to be confused with greenwashing*, is highly important to the future of our earth and is also quite attractive to the younger generation of consumers. However, it is a strategy to approach with great caution because green marketing is only meaningful when used to promote eco-friendly businesses and products/services that are not harmful to the environment. If you are not an eco-friendly business, whether it be from the production, use, or disposal of your products, you should not try to utilize green marketing because that in itself becomes the dreaded ~greenwashing~ that we all hate.
At this point, you may be wondering what “greenwashing” even is… According to the University of Sydney Environmental Institute, “Greenwashing is an unethical marketing technique of making misleading and unsubstantiated claims about the environmental “friendliness” of a product… The problem arises when businesses are aiming to seem eco-friendly instead of aiming to be eco-friendly.
On the other hand, if you do have an eco-friendly brand, then you should absolutely market your products, services, and efforts accordingly! Whether companies realize it yet or not, sustainability in itself is the most sustainable competitive advantage. So, if your business is not yet eco-friendly, don’t let this deter you from innovating in various ways and doing the right thing for your planet.
From this blog post, you will learn #6 tips to help you develop eco-friendly marketing efforts while remaining genuine and transparent with your audience.
#1. Get certified
The first step towards even knowing if you can promote your business by running a green marketing campaign is to get certified. Having an environmentally friendly certification shows that your business put in the required efforts to reach an accredited standard. Therefore, you should be able to tell your consumers about the milestones you have reached.
Yet, it is critical to not make claims that go beyond the limits of your certification as this would be deceptive, aka greenwashing once again. Here is a full list of all eco-labels that businesses can apply for in the United States. Use your best judgment to choose the ones that reflect what your company is working to achieve and will also be meaningful to your target market. Either way, the companies that can prove their statements will always gain more business and customer loyalty than those making unsubstantiated claims.
#2. Form a Holistically Green Company Culture
If you want to use green marketing to its fullest potential, then being environmentally friendly must be the foundation of your company culture. It should be your “why” for doing business, the essential component of your mission statement, and a pillar of your brand’s vision for a better future for the world. It is one thing to put out a lot of big talk on social media, and it is another to have employees, clients, friends, and family organically discuss with everyone they know how passionate the brand is for protecting the environment – and that only originates from authenticity.
#3. Create Content with Transparency
There is nothing more relatable to humans than other humans speaking the truth. Have you ever read something from a brand and thought “wow that is so me” and immediately developed a greater appreciation for them? We all have! That’s why creating authentic content is so valuable, and believe it or not, it is way easier than pretending the company is something that it’s not.
The best practices here are to simply be as honest as possible.
- On social media, your company should highlight the real employees who are doing the work, rather than simply showing off the polished executives.
- If you have an event, hire a photographer to take candid photos of people enjoying themselves, rather than posing.
- Explainer videos are a great tool to get complex points across in a simplified, but eloquent way.
- One thing consumers are dying to see is the start to finish of the entire production process, so if it’s feasible for your brand, why not fill that need!
#4. Accurate Pricing and Placement
One pain point that cannot be overlooked is making your green products both affordable and accessible. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e deserves to have access to brands that are healthy for the whole family use and that are actively working to make their own community better. It’s an absolute shame to see some of the most eco-friendly brands only supply their products in wealthy areas. It is an oxymoron actually. So, just be inclusive, its simple!
#5. Get Excited About Criticism
Always ask what you can be doing better! You never know when someone’s criticism could be the idea for a revolutionary change that your brand has been needing. Of course, we all hate getting a bad review, but at least that brings the flaws to your attention so you can make improvements. No one knows what the customer needs better than the customer themself. If someone loves your eco-friendly shampoo bar but it makes their hair greasy, don’t you want to know that so you can begin to develop something that best serves that gap in the market?
Many eco-friendly businesses are relatively new, so there is still plenty to explore and learn. Asking your customers for suggestions not only gives you ideas for what to do in the future, but it also builds on the personal connection and transparency aspects that you are already working to achieve.
#6. Volunteer for Clean-Ups
If your business is strictly service-oriented, but you still really want to get involved and raise awareness for the environment, a great solution is to volunteer. Most people automatically think of beach clean-ups in this scenario, but there are so many options locally if you look for them. The key to marketing these efforts is to make sure that you don’t have a “one and done” situation just for the photo op.
One way to hold your company accountable and stay consistent is to commit to a program. For example, with Tampa Bay’s Adopt A Road Program, companies can adopt a street, highway, or park at which they are responsible for hosting clean-up events periodically. The key here is to make sure that the real change you are making, big or small, is visible and in line with your brand’s values.
If it is not yet feasible for your business to achieve an environmentally friendly stature, there are many other ways you can implement acts of corporate social responsibility that in themselves are very effective forms of promoting a brand’s integrity. Hook & Blade is always here to consult with, and any strategy you choose, we will help you present your brand in the most attractive light possible that is still 100% honest. Our motto is “Be Genuine” for a reason!