Eco-conscious positioning is growing in every sector as it becomes one of the key indicators for repeat consumer purchasing patterns. I know it is a consideration I make with all of my purchases! But communicating with your client the extent to which you provide for a greener future can be difficult. By being choosy with your environmental brand language, you can connect with more patrons and do more good.
Greenwashing is a term used by the ecological community to identify fraudulent sustainable branding. Much like the medical “first do no harm,” establishing trust with a savvy audience means never, ever making unsubstantiated claims about your product’s environmental impact. But greenwashing can also be more vague with terms like “all natural” or “biodegradable.” This not uncommon practice opens your business to potential legal ramifications and can erode trust both prospective and existing customers. To protect yourself, make sure you’re adhering to government regulations on sustainability branding before jumping on the green bandwagon.
Transparency is the sharpest tool for a sustainable business. Being open and honest about commonly invisible business practices such as material sourcing, packaging, waste management, and supply chain resources means being accountable and trustworthy. Transparency lets consumers know exactly what they’re signing up for and, in some cases, why they should consider a higher price point. Many sustainable brands even push transparency beyond the green to by taking on other dark clouds over their industry such as gender pay equity or diverse beauty standards. Show off your best qualities by being transparent about business practices.
Consumer confusion surrounding the question of which companies’ environmental claims are reliable can lead to missed conversion opportunities. Clients find it too time consuming to research which brands are truly better for every purchasing decision they need to make. However, a green certification from a third party regulating body can be seen as a trustworthy indicator of brand sustainability standards. From EnergyStar to Organic to Fair Trade to B Certified, there are a wide variety of certification options available to meet your business sustainability model and instantly instill trust with consumers.
Don’t Sell, Educate
Sales is all about the metrics, but education is about the impact. So is sustainability! Communicate sustainability benefits at a level that impacts the consumer’s everyday life, and then expand that out to the societal level. It is more powerful to talk about the number of plastic water bottles used to make each pair of shoes you sell than it is to showcase how many pounds of plastic you diverted from landfill last year because people understand water bottles and shoes, but they don’t have a scale at home that measures pounds of plastic. Don’t talk down, but do make the ecological advantage accessible.
You may have noticed how many times we considered trust in this blog post. The truth is that sustainability is largely a movement based on the lack of trust consumers feel they have with traditional sources when it comes to environmental matters. To grow your green brand, first you must earn the trust back. From there, the sky is the limit to increase sales and the impact your sustainable business champions.