“Eco-Friendly” is no longer optional when relating to marketing demos like Millennials, Gen-Z, and Alphas.
With this focus increasingly dispersed among different target demos all clamoring for environmentally conscious business practices, if you’re not incorporating green initiatives in your marketing and production of products and services, you’re missing an entire slew of demographics.
Here are ways your business can integrate elements of this market segmentation to boost profits and help Mother Earth at the same time!
Everyone wins when businesses value the environment as part of their business model: businesses and consumers alike become part of the solution. While not every consumer on the planet cares about green business practices, there is quite an influential segment of the marketplace that does!
Eco-friendly approaches are more than just a trend with the younger crowd. Even older demographics can’t deny the trend! Aligning with the values of such a broad scope of potential consumers is an instant way to build rapport and relate to your clientele.
But what does being “eco-friendly” truly mean for your brand and business, and how can you best adapt your plan to the market? Here are 5 brands that have already paved the way with their marketing tactics and company standards to inspire you.
5 Eco-Friendly Brands Doing it Right
1. Use Your Data to Capitalize on an Ever-Growing Market-Unilever Brands
Unilever has a history of creating brands focused on sustainability like Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Lipton, and more and continues adding more to their docket for a current total of 28. In studying the progress of their brands, they discovered their sustainable and eco-friendly brands grew 69% faster than non-eco-friendly brands and made up 75% of Unilever’s overall growth as a company! It goes to show that thinking about the planet before creating products and services creates a unique market position as a company already dedicated to core values of ideal consumers.
For Unilever, though, having eco-friendly practices turning a profit is not enough; Unilever’s chief digital and marketing officer Conny Braams told The Drum that influencing others to follow in their footsteps, be it customers or other companies, is important when facing the worsening climate crises worldwide. Unilever is continuing to improve practices that are already eco-friendly and money saving to have even more sustainable components, such as using 100% recycled bottles for products and generating campaigns that inspire other brands to do the same. The marketing push now is more about the movement than the product, as many of the offerings within their brands are time-tested staples in daily life.
2. Staying True to Your Values Leads to Bigger Profits-Lush Cosmetics
Lush Cosmetics began as a different brand altogether, but when the first try failed 6 years in, the founders rallied around their sustainable values that they had initially used in order to re-emerge into the eco-friendly powerhouse it is today. Innovating as a result of their constant commitment to their values is what has driven their success. Customers are able to connect with their clearly defined tenets of what is important-the environment and creating quality natural products. From branding to web design and even in the packaging, every step of the customer experience carries the common thread of these values, making their brand a great choice for planet savers and quality snobs alike.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot Production Practices-Patagonia
A common thread in the Patagonia story is being willing to change course when a method of product production gets in the way of the core value of protecting the planet. While Patagonia has made a name for itself as the ultimate brand for trekking through and appreciating nature, its practices weren’t always eco-friendly. It was easy for the CEO of Patagonia to assume that cotton is automatically making use of a “pure” and “natural” product, but upon learning that the process of getting cotton was anything but pure or natural, the CEO made changes in the 90’s!
The learning didn’t stop there! The Tin Shed Venture not only funds new eco-friendly and sustainable brands, but its namesake comes from the CEO’s realization that his methods of creating climbing gear were not only not sustainable but harmful to the environment he adores so dearly. In making the switch to sustainable practices, he not only saved rock faces from damage but raked in incredible profits.
A marketing strategy telling consumers NOT to buy their products in an effort to curb wasteful spending even further underscores that going against the grain in order to stick with the mission will end up creating more customer loyalty as you show loyalty to what you and your customers care about most.
4. Crowdsource Creative Content from Customers-ASOS
Listing a fashion brand as an eco-conscious brand would be easy to question given the overwhelming statistics regarding the negative environmental impacts of the fashion industry, especially the trend of “fast fashion.” In face of this issue, ASOS signed a pledge for sustainability and also created the ASOS Marketplace to help connect their customers to sustainable vintage/recycled fashion options.
On top of these options, ASOS also created the #AsSeenOnMe hashtag and encourages customers to share their content. It was so popular, it spawned a purchase tagged gallery of #AsSeenOnMe outfits from users! Talk about an eco-friendly approach to marketing: use actual customer experiences with the clothing instead of creating new marketing collateral. This tactic also helps customers relate to your brand on a human level because of the real-world application of the product.
5. Start Small to Make a Big Splash-Frito Lay
Good food that’s good for you AND good for the planet?! Frito Lay is the most surprising choice in that every step of this snack-maker’s process is eco-conscious and societally aware. When thinking about Frito Lay marketing campaigns, the brand is known for memorable annual Super Bowl Doritos ads and the like, none of which particularly highlight the eco-awareness of the brand. Frito Lay simply “does the right thing” in face of its popularity and lets consumers breathe a sigh of relief as they enjoy crunchy snacks.
The Frito Lay mindset in approaching going green was to do so “one step at a time.” Rather than changing everything all at once, making a commitment to change and then doing so consistently over time has yielded both major profits and major changes to their slice of the industry. This also helped the brand sidestep the threat of “greenwashing,” which is an easy mistake for brands to make by touting eco-friendly practices without doing the hard work. By taking the time to build eco-initiatives properly, customers can grow in their green practices alongside you.
What Can I Do To Join Them?
Even small brands can help join the eco-movement by using online eCommerce tools like Shopify integrations and considering incorporating planet-friendly elements into your brand’s core values and production methods.