There’s no business without consumers and for over 70% of these consumers, being green is an important factor. Unsurprisingly, brands are keen to market their green products and services, but jumping on the bandwagon without some forethought can be a costly idea.
Marketing to the eco-conscious consumer comes with its own unique set of challenges that need addressing if your business is going to succeed. Among those challenges are some common mistakes green companies make in their marketing campaigns. Let’s have a look at three of these mistakes.
1. Not communicating value
With many brands “going green”, centring your marketing on merely showing products or services won’t do much to differentiate you from the next brand. You need to promote the characteristics that make your offerings stand apart from the competitors. What makes your brand unique? What’s your value proposition? Make all this shine through in your marketing efforts.
Take IKEA for example. The company’s primary aim is to provide solutions. Instead of hard selling, IKEA communicates how it gives customers stylish designs and affordable prices, all without sacrificing sustainability. The company provides value by allowing customers to merge all three elements.
Nike is another company that’s good at communicating value. The Nike+ website allows runners to upload their recent running data and view their running history on maps. The runners can also share their data with friends, post information about upcoming running events, and get tips that help them with their fitness regimes. Again, instead of hard selling, Nike has created value and given customers a reason to keep on engaging with the brand.
Takeaway: Your green business is just like any other business operating in a world where consumers require value. Consumers are not interested in marketing gimmicks; they prefer brands that focus on providing value over businesses that are all about money transactions.
2. Lacking the emotional connection
Consumers are more likely to buy from brands they feel more emotionally connected with. Furthermore, consumers are also likely to stay loyal to a brand they connect with. The closer a consumer feels to a brand, the more willing they are to spend on the brand’s products, and the less likely they are to switch to a competitor.
Connecting with consumers means creating more than just eco-focused campaigns. It means making your green products or services part of your brand’s narrative. It also means providing consistent messaging throughout your content.
Apple is well-known for its green initiatives that focus on three areas – using safer processes and materials, preserving resources, and reducing environmental impact. Other brands also do this, but Apple is more than just a green business. Apple is also a good example of companies that form emotional bonds with customers.
The brand blends minimalist and clean product design with consumers’ desire to become part of a specific lifestyle. This desire appeals to the human need to be part of something bigger, hence the emotional connection is born.
For instance, although the #ShotoniPhone campaign was created to demonstrate the brand’s impressive new camera, it did more than that. The campaign brought together the iPhone community, creating emotional connections and providing an opportunity for people to showcase beauty in different settings.
The result – a successful marketing campaign, lots of engagement, and customer loyalty.
Takeaway: Emotion influences all our decisions, therefore, it has a significant impact on purchase outcomes. Make it a point to connect with your potential customers and you will likely see more success in your marketing campaigns.
3. Not being transparent
Greenwashing is one of the most prevalent problems in green marketing. Unfortunately, it not only hurts the company making false claims, but also damages the credibility of honest businesses. Consumers are increasingly sceptical of green marketing and so lacking transparency will only serve to hurt your brand and marketing campaigns.
Patagonia has found success by being transparent. The company is listed as one of the most transparent brands in the fashion sector and it’s very open about where all its products come from. Patagonia details where materials are sourced, how products are made and the conditions in which workers make the product. Because of this transparency, customers are willing to pay higher prices for the products since they know exactly what they are paying for.
Patagonia has a long history of transparency. Even in the past, the brand was transparent about products that were not completely sustainable and eco-friendly.
Takeaway: It’s possible to have a clear brand purpose while still being transparent even when some of your business-related activities aren’t entirely green. While greenwashing won’t do you any favours, customers will appreciate honesty and your effort to be truly green.
There you have it, three green marketing mistakes that can cost you some good business if you fail to address them. Let me know what you think and do feel free to share more marketing mistakes that tend to hurt sustainability-focused brands.