Sustainability is the Future of Successful Branding. Here’s an Easy Way to Get Started.

A woman pointing at the whiteboard and speaking to a group in a meeting.
Via You-X-Ventures, Unsplash

88%. That’s the percentage of U.K. and U.S. consumers that want companies to be more sustainable. This means, if you’re not already pivoting your brand to be more eco-friendly, you’re in danger of being left behind. Or worse, going out of business.

Potential customers want to buy from brands that align with their values. So even if you have the most clever tagline, it might not be enough if your brand isn’t mindful of its environmental impact. 

And maybe you’re thinking, “We’re a small business. How can we pivot towards more eco-friendly initiatives without breaking the bank?” 

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel when transitioning your business to more sustainable practices. 

There are small ways you can be more planet-friendly. It’s not to say you shouldn’t ever do more; taking small steps can make the transition a lot more manageable. Here’s one tactic you can try to get started. 

Your Clients Want Life to Be Easy

Don’t we all? We naturally don’t like doing hard things. Otherwise, we’d be jumping on filing taxes right away. There’s a pandemic. We’re juggling an endless stream of Zoom meetings, homeschooling, veterinary visits, and meal planning. People don’t want us to add something else added to their loaded plates.

 Make it easy for your clients to pivot with you to more sustainable practices. 

We don’t like jumping through hoops or going out of our way to do a thing. We don’t want to drive an hour across town to compost something. Or feel like we need to sacrifice convenience. There’s one step you can take to make things easier for your customers and you.

Change their behavior. 

Start by changing how people use your products. 

Colgate is an excellent example of this. In their #EveryDropCounts campaign, they encourage consumers to turn off the tap while brushing their teeth to conserve water. 

The Every Drop Counts campaign even has its own page on Colgate’s website. They educate their consumers on the water crisis and how much water they could save by turning off the tap. It even encourages people to share on social media using their hashtag #EveryDropCounts in their posts. 

Why This Works

This is a great option for just about every brand out there. But especially small businesses that have limited resources. It doesn’t require a lot of change to their products in and of themselves. It’s focused on getting their customers to stop running the tap while brushing their teeth. 

We all like to post on social media who we are and what we stand for. Think about the posts you see as you scroll through Facebook every day. And Colgate gives their customers a chance to do just that. 

Using their hashtag, consumers say, “this is who I am and something I care about.” And it’s something they want to be recognized for in a public forum. Using the hashtag also increases brand awareness among social media users while highlighting Colgate’s sustainability initiatives. 

And that could be great for business—especially given the whole 88% of customers who want brands to be more green. 

Incentivize Your Consumer

Aside from social media recognition, you could provide a small monetary reward for consumers who change their behavior to be more eco-friendly. Lenny Boy Brewing, a brewery and kombucha business in Charlotte, N.C., does just that. And full disclosure, their kombucha is delicious. 

With Lenny Boy, you can buy a big glass growler of beer or kombucha versus tons of plastic-wrapped cans destined for the ocean. Sure, customers have to buy the glass growler at first, but there’s a reward:

A discount. Every time you bring back the glass growler, you get a discount on your refill. And over time, that helps generate less waste. And helps their customers save money. It’s a win-win. 

Try Humor

Who Gives a Crap is an eco-friendly toilet paper company that sources from bamboo instead of trees. If you get a box delivered to your door, you’ll see the side of it comes with a handy list of ideas for repurposing it.

“Hamster Mansion.” “Laptop stand” (not bad, actually). “Cheap coffee table” (sure?). 

It’s a cheeky way to say “please recycle the box” without saying “please recycle the box.” Clever, right? Humor, if done right, is a great way to engage your audience. Next time you’re writing product descriptions, updating your newsletter, or on social media, give it a try. 

The Bottom-Line

Consumers are expecting brands to do more for the environment, and that’s not going away. Focus on taking small steps towards being more mindful of sustainability. 

One thing you can start today is encouraging customers to change their behavior with their products. You can do this with well-curated content without requiring you to make drastic changes to production while you begin your sustainability transition.

Now, over to you. What steps can your company take to be more planet-friendly? 

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