The Success of Sustainable Messaging in Marketing Campaigns
Climate change is a major global issue that society is having to grapple with and find solutions for. Political pressure to take action has been happening for quite some time, but now consumers are looking at how businesses and brands are incorporating sustainability and eco-friendliness into their business structure.
Globally, environmental issues consistently rank high on citizens’ priority lists of issues that need to be tackled, and almost half of Brits say that climate change is their number one environmental concern. And 59% of surveyed Brits want their favourite brands to declare a climate emergency!
In this article, we take a look at some of the brands that have developed interesting and creative ways of generating successful, environmentally conscious messaging within their digital marketing campaigns.
It all starts at home
The idea of combatting climate change by making small changes at home has led to the birth of a wide variety of eco-friendly home products. Examples include Earthwise cleaning products; Unpaste toothpaste tablets (to replace using packaged toothpaste that is harmful to the environment); and Art of Lunch reusable sandwich bags (to replace the use of plastic and paper bags).
Seventh Generation is another brand that has decided to create an entire company centred around cleaning products that protect the environment. The company uses plant-based products, recycled packaging and doesn’t use synthetic fragrances or dyes. However, they also go a step further by firmly planting themselves in movements to promote climate awareness and encourage action on climate change.
Seventh Generation has largely focused its marketing on encouraging people to act on their idealism and passion, by committing to issues that are larger than themselves at the supermarket each week. Education around the environment is an enormous part of the company’s marketing strategy, and much of its social media is dedicated to tying its products to the movement for higher climate awareness.
The company has a detailed website centred around sales of its products, but there are also many sections dedicated to educating customers about various social and environmental issues that the company believes in. Seventh Generation also makes significant donations to various non-profit associations and entities involved with various causes and partners, with some of them including online campaigns. The #ComeClean initiative promoted legislation that would require manufacturers of both consumer and industrial cleaning products to disclose all added ingredients on product labels and websites. Seventh Generation adopted the hashtag across its social media platforms and showed complete transparency with the contents of its products to lead the way.
Big brands taking on big issues
Swedish furniture company Ikea is a well-known name in read-to-assemble furniture. The company boasts an impressive brand value of almost 19 billion USD and has grown to become one of the biggest furniture retailers in the world.
Ikea has developed a multi-pronged strategy in becoming more eco-friendly and sustainable, which involves finding ways to use less water, selling exclusively LED lighting that uses far less energy, and utilising 100% sustainable cotton; amongst an enormous range of other measures. Various initiatives have also been implemented across its store, manufacturing, and delivery processes, such as ensuring store managers are trained in energy reduction. The company then utilises personal anecdotes and promotion of its sustainability measures across various marketing campaigns to encourage customers and other brands to follow suit.
Ikea’s dive into sustainable action within the organisation, plus promotion of its actions across its marketing platforms, has led to a 58% increase in sales of its products. But what’s more impressive is that the company has set out the ambitious goal of being completely circular by 2030; meaning a system where carbon emissions are reduced, reused, recycled, and removed.
Ikea makes effective use of social media and often posts creative content such as its home tour series, going into people’s homes and providing a free makeover to utilise the brand’s products and encourage spaces that use affordable and eco-friendly products. The company’s effective use of social media has led to large followings across Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, that further provides a platform to encourage sustainability and publish educational environmental content tied to its brand identity.
H&M is another company that has centred marketing campaigns around the sustainability of their products. The company has launched initiatives such as the promotion of recycling clothing that customers would otherwise throw away. H&M has released viral videos and professed across its various social media platforms and advertising mediums that, in any of its stores across 53 markets, they will accept unwanted clothing sold by the brand to then create a cycle of re-selling used clothing at a lower price.
The initiative was met with widespread praise and the company has even moved to encourage customers to partake by offering discounts to those who choose to recycle. H&M has also launched into the ‘sustainable fashion’ realm with its ‘Conscious Collection’ and also boast a wide variety of other sustainable and environmentally conscious initiatives that they promote through their website.
The brand has however received some criticism for its ‘dubious sustainability marketing.’
Don’t forget to continue the digital transformation
By the very nature of building communications and communities online, companies who invest in digital marketing will reduce their environmental impact by using less resources to create physical marketing. Companies who lead the way now with important structural changes to become more environmentally conscious and sustainable can be credited with significantly helping the climate cause and, in turn, can reap the benefits of increased brand awareness amongst a much more climate conscious consumer base.