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  • Alicia Dingec

Where does sustainability fit in your corporate marketing plan?

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

As a marketing professional these days, you know that your company must do more than simply sell products and services and generate wealth. There is a societal and business driven expectation to act responsibly. Corporates, enterprises and even small to medium businesses need to be uber conscious about the impact of their business on the environment, society, and the economy. Sustainability is no longer a buzzword, but a crucial aspect that corporations must address to be seen as responsible and credible. Having a clear sustainability message as part of a sustainability plan is key to not only increase brand reputation but to also grow market share. So where does that leave your marketing plans? And how does sustainability fit in your corporate marketing KPIs? In this blog post, we’ll delve into why sustainability is becoming increasingly important to consumers and provide you with five reasons why your marketing plan should focus on sustainability.

Understanding Sustainability

At its core, sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in terms of environmental impact. The idea of sustainability is often broken down into three pillars: economic, environmental, and social—also known informally as profits, planet, and people. This means finding ways to use resources in a way that is responsible and thoughtful, considering both environmental and social impacts. Sustainability is about more than just reducing waste and cutting emissions - it's about creating a more equitable and just world for all. It's about recognising that our actions have consequences and taking steps to ensure that those consequences are positive ones.

Why Sustainability Is Important

We all know that sustainable practices help mitigate climate change, reduce waste and pollution, conserve resources, and preserve biodiversity. Sustainability enhances the quality of life for everyone, including marginalised communities. A sustainable future is not just desirable; it is essential for the survival of our planet, and it is our responsibility to ensure that it becomes a reality. But when a company has a tangible and SMART plan of action, sustainability is also key to the balance of economic growth, environmental protection, and social progress.

1. Increased demand

The desire for sustainability is becoming a non-negotiable within business, with a standard expectation that companies should be socially and environmentally responsible. With the strong competition of B2B, having a sustainable marketing strategy may be the reason businesses decide to work with you and also pay you an increased fee for doing so. Copperberg claim 75% of research participants are prepared to pay a higher premium to businesses that operate responsibly. A sustainable marketing plan can help your company meet these expectations and distinguish itself from competitors. Many companies and organisations now expect to see a sustainability report and a net zero plan before agreeing to include them in bids and contracts.

2. Cost savings

Sustainability initiatives can lead to cost savings over time. Reducing waste, reducing travel, improving energy efficiency, and using less consumable resources can lead to lower expenses. Your company can use these savings to increase investments in other areas of your business, such as your sustainability marketing campaigns!

3. Enhance employee satisfaction and retain talent

There has been much discussion around how one of the key tools to attract Gen Z talent is to have very strong sustainability credentials. The trick is to communicate your credentials as part of your overall brand, communication and PR strategy. Sustainability may also be of core value to your employees and engaging with social and environmental initiatives like the ‘cycle to work scheme’, may create a stronger alignment between the business and its staff members. This can increase employee satisfaction, boost productivity and reduce staff turnover. Additionally, involving employees in sustainable practices can lead to new and innovative ideas that can drive business growth.

4. Positive brand reputation

Sustainability contributes to a positive brand reputation and differentiates your company from its competitors. Customers are increasingly mindful of the impact their supply chain has on the planet. By promoting your company’s sustainability initiatives, your brand becomes associated with positive values, which can lead to increased customer trust and loyalty.

5. Compliance with regulations

Governments across the globe are introducing more and more legislation dedicated to environmental and social responsibility. Your company needs to understand regulations and be compliant to avoid being locked out of lucrative contracts. By integrating these regulations into your corporate marketing plan, you can win lucrative deals, avoid legal complications, create better relationships with government authorities, and ensure your customers take your environmental and social responsibility seriously.

3 Ways To Implement Sustainability Into Your Marketing Strategy

After understanding why sustainability is important, the next step is exploring how to implement it into your marketing strategy.

1. Understand Your Market

Getting to know the sustainable issues related to your specific market is important in terms of appearing authentic. Your business should truly want to help these causes and ensuring the relevance of the initiatives your company gets involved in is vital. Talk in language specific to your sector and follow and contribute to the appropriate thought leadership discussions.

With the present surge of greenwashing it is important to differentiate your business by highlighting your niche in the sustainability space. Identify your cause, ensuring it aligns with your ethos and overall brand mission.

2. Use Green Certifications

To reinforce your sustainable practice use green business certifications to add credibility and provide your customers with the confidence that you are being socially and environmentally responsible.

3. Sustainability Story

Make sure that sustainability is integrated into your core brand messaging in a way that is right for your business. You don’t want your sustainability message to feel like an insincere afterthought and conscious behaviour including your comms strategy should be at the core of your brand. However, this is not always the case and you can counter-act this by paying your sustainability story the same amount attention as your core brand values to show your customers it has been well thought out.

Incorporating sustainability into your corporate marketing plan is not an option; it’s a necessity. From increasing demand to reducing operational costs, from enhancing employee satisfaction to complying with government regulations, incorporating sustainability is a win-win situation. By addressing sustainability, your company can create a positive brand reputation, differentiate itself from competitors, and become a force for good. Don’t wait any longer, start integrating sustainability into your corporate marketing plan today.

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