To craft an authentic green messaging strategy, start with why

Last updated: 15th November 2023

Shared values are important. Find out how your business can start to communicate more effectively about sustainability in our blog.

Encouraged by consumer pressure and regulatory change, an increasing number of brands are setting ambitious environmental targets. And as targets are met and new clean-tech is launched, marketing teams want to raise awareness of brands’ efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the world’s resources. 

Letting the world know about your environmental initiatives can have a positive domino effect. It helps your company gain trust from Earth-conscious consumers and stakeholders, but it can also set the standard for others to follow. 

However, without science-based objectives – and a genuine and transparent sustainability message – the risk of greenwashing is ever present. Recent missteps from well known brands have raised public awareness and highlighted why it’s so crucial for businesses to tread carefully when promoting their sustainability initiatives. 

So, where to begin?

To create a sustainability campaign based on authenticity, environmental values must first be embedded in a business’ values and disseminated as part of broader business goals. Assuming you’ve got this right, it’s time to spread the word. 

We would recommend following Simon Sinek’s suggestion of ‘starting with why’.

What’s your why?

Most B2B brands will focus on telling consumers what they are doing to be more sustainable – from reducing plastic use to implementing initiatives to curb their carbon emissions. They will also talk about how they’re doing it: rethinking packaging, focusing on energy efficiency, revising their supplier’s net zero policies, and more.  

But it’s less common for brands to explain why they believe sustainability is important. By being clear about their purpose and mission, Earth-conscious brands can let their customers know that their values align. In this way, they can gain consumer trust and make sure their sustainability message is based on the brand’s actual principles. 

Playing into the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle Theory is a neuroscience-based concept popularised by Simon Sinek in 2009. It was originally developed as a leadership theory, but is equally applicable to the world of green marketing. 

The theory suggests that persuasive messages should target the limbic brain, which is the area that is responsible for emotions, behaviour and decision-making. 

Tapping into the audience’s emotions is often neglected in B2B marketing. However, just like their B2C counterparts, B2B organisations are essentially selling to people. Though B2B buyers might have a different set of priorities, their decision-making process will still be regulated by the limbic brain, where gut feelings about trust and loyalty play a big role. 

The neocortex – the area of the brain responsible for cognition and memory related to facts and knowledge – will play a part in turning a prospect into a customer. But by appealing to their audience’s emotions and shared values, brands can make a long-lasting impression on a prospect.

Winning over younger generations

So, why should your green messaging start with “why”? Evidence from the World Economic Forum suggests that newer generations are becoming increasingly aware of the climate crisis, but that older strata of the population are also catching up. 

Between April 2020 and 2021, 53% of UK Baby Boomers said they’d pay more for sustainable products, compared to 63% of Millennials and 69% of GenZ.

As the first generation of digital-native consumers dictate market trends, their opinions will also start to influence the decision-making process of other age groups, impacting their buying habits. 

Businesses can’t afford to overlook the shifting priorities of their consumers. Explaining the reasons behind their commitment to the environment can go a long way in showing younger buyers that their concerns are shared – and that action is being taken.

Partnering with link-minded stakeholders

Today’s consumers expect social responsibility to go beyond your premises and to extend to your entire value chain. This is why implementing ambitious sustainability initiatives in house but working with partners who don’t share your ethos might be seen as contradictory and lead to reputational damage. Being bold about your commitment to the environment can help you attract the right stakeholders, contributing to building a sustainable value chain in the long-run.

This goes beyond your immediate supply chain and extends to every organisation you choose to collaborate with – including your marketing agency. Working with a marketing partner that not only understands green marketing best practices, but also commits to reducing its own environmental footprint, is key for your sustainability efforts to be perceived as authentic. 

Attracting and retaining talent

Green marketing done right isn’t just about winning over consumers and stakeholders. Earth-conscious organisations are also more attractive to newer generations of employees. 

Today’s employees want to work for businesses that share their values and take the climate crisis seriously. In fact, research shows that 71% of workers consider a company’s sustainability credential when deciding on an employer. 

Working for a company with great sustainability credentials is seen as something to be proud of. Moreover, research shows that employees believe such companies are also more likely to take staff wellbeing seriously. 

So, are you ready to craft a green messaging strategy based on shared values? At The Marketing Pod, we’re experienced in creating purpose-led campaigns for sustainable brands, net zero leaders and clean-teach innovators. To get support from our green marketing specialists, get in touch today.

N.B. The information contained in this entry is provided by the above supplier, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher

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