Sustainability is one of the most important topics for both retailers and consumers, but getting your messaging right isn’t always easy. Dave Carlos of The Planet Mark offers fantastic guidance on driving businesses and consumers alike from talk to action when it comes to our planet.
While most of us are aware of the current threats to our planet and society, encouraging action still proves to be incredibly difficult. “Doomsday Messaging” might be the most effective way of getting across the severity of our situation, but as psychologists know, fear is the least effective emotion for causing action.
By framing the conversation in terms of “taking the climate back”, we instill feelings of hope, of positivity, and ultimately of action. So how can we frame sustainability in a way which encourages and enables our consumers?
First of all, the most important thing is to live and breathe your purpose – it should be more than just a statement, it should form the very core of your brand and your culture. It’s proven that purpose-led brands will outperform competitors in the long run. The best brands don’t think of themselves as companies first, but rather as agents of change.
Your product itself also has to work – and be the best on the market. By showcasing how well the product performs, you get consumers interested before you’ve even mentioned that it’s sustainable. This then makes consumers feel good about their purchase: they’ve chosen the “better” option. On a similar note, make it easy for your consumers to be sustainable; companies should be the ones driving the change in a way that enables consumers to be part of the purpose without too much effort.
Controversially, you might want to drop the word “sustainability”. By using a more universal language, for example asking if customers would rather shop locally rather than asking them if they care about sustainable agriculture. This allows you to reach further than the “green consumer” and engage more of the person-on-the-street.
Crucially, you have to make sustainability sexy. Make it so easy to do, so desirable for consumers, that being unsustainable is difficult. The more we can do this, the more marketers can be agents of change and help to bring about the Decade of Action.