The growing concern for the health of our planet is influencing consumer buying behavior and also changing the way businesses build their brands. Sustainable brand images are becoming more valuable to businesses across all industries. They attract a large pool of consumers and help drive environmental, social, and economic protection and progression.
Businesses are pushing to integrate sustainability company-wide but are starting with a solid foundation for a sustainable brand image. A sustainable brand design can set you apart from other businesses in your industry. It prominently displays your commitment to a healthy environment, a thriving society, and a high-functioning economy.
What is the value of a sustainable brand image? What makes a sustainable product/brand? This article will detail eight ways to establish a sustainable brand image. We’ll also briefly discuss the benefits of being sustainable.
Eight Ways to Establish a Sustainable Brand Image
Establishing a sustainable brand image requires authenticity and true intention to be a part of the save the world movement. These eight concepts will speak to different parts of your business and how sustainability can be reflected in them. So, what constitutes a sustainable brand image?
#1. Products/services that aid a healthy planet
One of the simplest ways businesses establish their brand as sustainable is by creating products/services that are environmentally-friendly. This is usually just the first step to a sustainable brand image, not the only one. If you aren’t familiar with sustainability or have yet to make it a priority in your business, it’s best not to overwhelm yourself with trying to make everything sustainable at one time.
Start with a line of sustainable products/services. Create these products successfully and get consumers to consistently buy them. You can then look at other parts of your business to make them more sustainable or transform your entire inventory into sustainable products/services.
Use organically and ethically-sourced materials to create your products/services. Use these natural resources responsibly to ensure you aren’t negatively impacting the environment.
#2. Eco-friendly packaging
Designing a sustainable brand should include a strategy for transforming your packaging. Putting your sustainable products in sustainable packaging further displays your brand’s commitment to a healthy environment. Sustainable packaging also means considering how you prepare your products for shipping.
The beauty industry has long struggled with balancing sustainability and preservation of product. Many products of the industry must be stored in containers that keep lotions and creams from going bad before and after being transported to stores and customers. Because of this need traditionally eco-friendly packaging is oftentimes not the most sustainable answer. Instead, the beauty industry is beginning to look at alternative packaging options such as glass containers or refillable metal packaging. In some cases, recyclable containers can be returned to the manufacturer to be remade into new products and in others, the refillable containers are returned to retailers when empty.
Various plant- and mineral-based packaging materials are also being used throughout the world, with luxury brands like Veuve Clicquot getting in on the trend. The champagne brand used potato starch in a 2014 special “natural” edition of its libation. For the next edition, they appropriately enough used grape skins.
#3. Planet-friendly Transportation
Businesses are now using their transportation methods as a way to become more sustainable. How are you getting your products and materials to you, and then to your customer? The answer to these two questions could reveal an opportunity to further your sustainability efforts.
Planet-friendly transportation could look like:
- Delivering any appropriate product through digital channels.
- Delivering product in electric vehicles.
- Using transportation companies committed to sustainability.
A sustainable brand image goes beyond the actual product and its packaging. It should include as many teams, methods, and systems in your company as possible. Analyze your transportation methods and shift them to sustainable ones if at all possible.
#4. People and planet-happy manufacturing
Businesses with a sustainable brand image take pride in a manufacturing process that not only makes the planet happy but the people running the manufacturing process happy too. Too often do we find out some of our favorite brands are working within an unethical manufacturing process that’s harmful to the environment. These same brands are also claiming a level of sustainability that isn’t possible while in such a dynamic.
People and planet-happy manufacturing means:
- Eliminating excessive material waste.
- Making sure workers are being paid adequately and have good workplace conditions.
- Utilizing renewable resources to produce clean energy.
- Ensuring workers’ physical and mental well-being is cared for.
- Visiting your manufacturing facilities frequently to ensure all standards are being met.
- Limiting power and energy usage in production.
- Efficient recycling methods for all appropriate materials.
- Eliminating the use of machines that are harmful to the environment.
#5. Office environment with sustainability at its core
An office environment that reflects your sustainability commitment further establishes a brand that’s helpful to the planet. In a traditional office space, you can eliminate excessive use of paper materials, optimize your use of technology, and reexamine the way you use power and electricity in your building.
Another way to create an office environment with sustainability at its core is to give employees the option to work from home. This SHOWS your sustainability efforts in addition to talking about them as you build your brand image. Working from home allows your employees to personalize their workspaces with green plants, green functionality, and good vibes.
Share your workplace culture with the world through social media and other digital channels to promote your sustainable office environment.
#6. Digital marketing and green marketing
Marketing is huge for building brand awareness and an obvious factor in how your brand is perceived by consumers. Businesses building a sustainable brand image should include sustainability in their marketing messaging as well as in the strategies they use for marketing.
Digital marketing strategies include:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Website/Content marketing
- Video marketing
- Mobile apps
- Search engine optimization/marketing
There’s also a new concept, green marketing, that effectively advertises your business as sustainable. According to superside.com, green marketing is a strategy in which companies sell their products or services in a way that emphasizes their sustainability efforts or benefits to the environment. It shies away from revenue-driven strategies and is centered on how purchasing your product or service helps the world.
#7. Take a stand on social issues
One of the pillars of sustainability is the social pillar. Businesses should prioritize taking a stand on societal issues if they want to establish a holistic sustainable brand image. Take an interest in what’s going on in the world and leverage this knowledge to show your commitment to sustainability isn’t exclusive to environmental issues.
Consumers are committing to brands that take a stand on societal issues they value rather than brands that choose not to address social issues at all. It’s important to determine which issues are most important to your current and potential customers and focus primarily on how you can positively impact those challenges.
Sustainable brands are overtly transparent. Businesses that have fully embraced sustainability realize how important it is to provide as much information as possible about their efforts. They provide details on how they plan to achieve their sustainability goals, when they hope to accomplish these goals, and the steps necessary on all levels of the company to become a majority sustainable brand.
Identify your sustainability goals and be transparent about them in marketing communications. Keep consumers, employees, leaders, and shareholders up to date on your progress. Also be sure to communicate how sustainability isn’t a short-term goal, rather a long-term vision for the progression of your company.
The Benefits of Being a Sustainable Brand
Being a sustainable brand offers the obvious benefit of having the opportunity to truly influence the longevity of our planet. The goal of a sustainable brand is to help save our planet by adopting practices, systems, strategies, products/services that are helpful to preserving the health of people, the environment, and the economy. As more and more brands prioritize sustainability, our world becomes more of the place we all can thrive in.
Sustainable brands also attract the younger generations, who happen to lead the sustainability movement. Millennials and Gen Zers make up the majority of the workplace and are a huge sector of the consumer base. Sustainable brands can attract this generation more fluently as consumers and potential employees by leveraging this shared value.
Finally, you set your business apart from others in the same industry with a sustainable brand image. Effectively addressing issues like inclusion and diversity, greenhouse gas emissions, raw materials, and product design, or labor issues keep you a step ahead of your competitors because you’re creating an emotional connection with consumers. You’re paying attention to the things that alter their daily lives and taking part in the solution to them.
The value of a sustainable brand image is rooted in its authentic efforts to better the health of our environment, ensure the longevity of people, and aid the growth of our economy.
Sustainability is increasing in importance to consumers. It influences what products they buy, what services they invest in, and what businesses they support. Because sustainability is becoming more important in the everyday lives of consumers, businesses must begin incorporating it across their entire brand design.