✅ Green marketing with strategy
What does it take for strategic green marketing and which companies are doing a good job?
Hello 👋 My name is Florian Schleicher and this is the FutureStrategies newsletter from FutureS. I'm glad you're reading along 💚 If you want to learn strategic marketing, my Simple & Sustainable Marketing Academy is just right for you.
How do I avoid greenwashing as a brand, and how does proper and strategic green marketing work?
🧑🎤 Do good and talk about it
It's actually quite simple, as the basic principle of PR described above says so well.
First of all, carry out an honest examination of sustainability, and then communicate accordingly what is actually being done.
So it takes more than words to do this.
“While 86% of businesses have a purpose statement, 83% have yet to consider what this means across departments or set clear team targets.”
Today, therefore, there are:
3 sins we can avoid,
4 components of sustainable strategies and
5 strategic approaches to successful green marketing.
😈 3 sins
The 3 sins we must especially avoid and pay attention to in marketing:
Sloganeering: Inventing a nice-sounding slogan that exaggerates or confuses one's own sustainable measures (e.g. "Machhaltigkeit" (sic) at McDonald's).
Kickoffs without a goal: Communicating a kickoff on a topic, but without setting clear goals (Ex. "We're going carbon neutral.")
Giving up: Yes, it's a big problem we have, but each of us can make a small contribution, and inspire other people with good marketing.
“People are tired of being the only ones who care and an underlying “anti-trust” is bubbling over. They need brands to make some real impact.”
Twitter trend report 2022
🌎 4 components of a sustainable communication strategy
Everything in our society today is interwoven and networked.
To offer real added value, we need to keep up with the changes and the times and keep an eye on technical as well as sociological trends.
A lot is expected of companies these days.
The old 4P model in marketing is no longer up to date. It only deals with the internal view.
At the trend agency Global Influences, I came across a new model that I find very appealing:
In marketing, we have to bring these 4Ps under one communicative hat. That's when good impact marketing comes into being.
Because if, in addition to profit, we also address people's lifestyles and our habitat, we can also position our communications more strongly, both digitally and analogously, and tap into new potential.
🎯 5 strategic approaches
Thinking strategically means thinking long-term.
What steps can we take in our (green) marketing planning to implement precisely this long-term thinking?
Define and communicate clear goals
What specifically do we want to change and by when? Goals need to be set in a way that shows where successful change is happening. In other words, all that SMART goals are. These ambitions and plans can then be communicated.
Understand target groups
At the beginning of any communication effort, we need to understand who our target audience is and what their needs are. In other words, filter out insights. Because sustainable target groups are not all the same: from Birkenstock wearers to top models, the range is wide and needs are different. We have to respond to this.
Dedicate resources and time
Real change is not possible overnight. Ambitious companies tend to dedicate far too few resources to too many changes. The effect? Minimal effort and a lack of results.
My tip, therefore, is to focus. Define one or two areas in the organization that can realistically be changed sustainably in the coming months and years. And then allocate resources accordingly.
Focus on behavioral change
Behavior and language influence culture. It's more important to positively move the behavior of both companies and consumers than to just provide thinking points.
Share progress and learnings
Any form of change process brings successes and difficulties. The important thing is to share them openly. Sustainable consumers want to be informed about where companies stand, even if something doesn't work out - this only shows the drive for change again. As long as there are more successes than failures, it's okay to be self-critical.
Thus two lessons learned:
a) Green marketing without green entrepreneurship is not possible.
b) Companies do not have to be perfect, but simply communicate authentically.
But what companies need is an authentic interest in sustainable approaches, and that obviously starts with the status quo.
“If you don’t measure your carbon emissions and pay for it, you’re part of the problem”
Allbirds co-founder Joey Zwillinger
👟 These boots are made for renting
The shoe manufacturer On-Running has launched a really well-thought-out and entrepreneurial project:
“Own your run, not the gear. You don’t own Cyclon running products, you subscribe to them (like your music).”
From insight to product to communication, a beautiful approach has emerged.
💃 Make sustainability sexy (again)
Fast fashion is becoming more and more out.
And rightly so, if you look at the questionable practices of companies like H&M.
For a long time, everything in the clothing industry in particular was geared towards a very pointed target group: Ecos who simply want sustainable clothing.
But high-fashion, clothes we could wear on a catwalk or simply in a good cocktail bar, were scarce.
Now, thankfully, there are companies on that front that are meeting those needs as well. A great example is Reformation.
“Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re # 2.”
There, they work with a variation of the 4-P model: People, Product, Planet, and Progress. And the company's sustainability strategy communicates authentically and sympathetically what is being done and how. Many companies could take a leaf out of their book.
They are attracting a new target group - and stars such as Emma Watson, Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner, and Taylor Swift are wearing sustainable clothes.
And even Jennifer Lopez wears Reformation dresses during her honeymoon (that's the society fan in me coming through).
Successful green marketing at its best.
✔ Just do it
Green marketing addresses essential consumer needs. As such, it offers great potential for growth.
Yes, change takes an investment (resources and time).
But it always has. And many companies are recognizing the opportunities of good green marketing.
So here's my plea:
We need more really well-thought-out, strategic green marketing! This way, we can not only open up new growth markets but also make our planet a little more beautiful and sustainable.
Who, if not us?
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
Robert Swan, OBE
If you enjoyed this post, I recommend:
PS: You can also read this posting in German.