"Sustainability is not a one-for-all model. It's about collaborating, learning, creating, implementing, assessing and constantly evolving", as said by Gabriela Alvarez from Latitude Switzerland.
Amidst this huge competition amongst various brands and companies, it's very important to devise or follow proper branding techniques and marketing strategies in order to survive this 'rat race' . Sustainability has now become a very important issue in this era or this 21st century to be precise. Here in this century if one prefers to stick to the traditional and age-old process of selling or marketing products then it would become very difficult for the company to sustain. Here one must create different business models and plan strategically keeping in mind that the customer is the ultimate decision maker on the fact that which business model works the best. Marketing and branding area, the highest level through which companies are able to connect with the customers in the closest possible way has become the most essential part of the sustainable marketing strategy. In order to be able to operate in this competitive market one requires business to develop contemporary and modern capabilities with investing huge amounts of infrastructure, capital, resources and energy. Different businesses require different approaches and hence very detailed research and marketing strategies keeping in view the idea of sustainability in order to make it a successful brand.
Branding and Sustainability
Brands are actually a mix of both functional as well as emotional characters as perceived by the customers. Consumers are more keen on buying the "Branded things" even if better products at cheaper prices are available. Branding requires creating Brand sustainability associations, followed by building brand values. Integrating brands along with the sustainability practices in their day to day operations and communicating these to the consumers helps in transforming the customers into associations, and hence making them a part of the brand image. The framework of the integration for sustainability includes three steps :
Recent researches show that integrating operations with the marketing activities of a company allows businesses to be perceived as more sustainable, although it becomes a complex issue for the one who manages.
Implementing and Integrating sustainability into branding can give the clients a sense of appeal who are concerned about sustainability, and hence provide the company with an additional advantage in terms of competition. Thus, the commercial firms can have a better appeal to the sustainability - oriented customers.
Sustainability has to be marketed among peers and customers in order to give them an insight to the position the company holds, in this competitive world. It may be done by advertisements in various social media, television and such; product packaging ; and different promotional materials. These small tricks should definitely be suited with disclosure of sustainability efforts, including their results, in both the company reports and dedicated sustainability reports.
Now it has become clear that most of the companies have started appreciating the value of focussing on sustainability and have started to accept it. The main two aims of appointing sustainability in businesses are :
Making contribution to society
Gaining financial profits and advantage over competition.
Nowadays, with increasing concern about the environment and adoption of various environment friendly practices Green Marketing has come into play. Brands who have started to adopt these environment friendly practices have a better chance of getting their consumers to remain hooked to their brand only. Consumers recognize such brands as more sustainable compared to those who haven't adopted such practices yet. Adoption and implementation of such practices are used to showcase how their missions and goals have changed from revenue driven to environmentally aware, by the process they use that have the least impact on the environment as possible. The goals of green marketing includes :
Implementing sustainable business practices
Demonstration of social responsibility
Reducing expenses in packaging, transportation etc
Demonstrating how safe and sustainable products are.
The green marketing needs to be strategically integrated into the brand marketing strategy.
Communication of the green message through various advertising platforms.
Supporting of eco friendly programs and corresponding community initiatives
Focussing on green production.
By using these techniques and adding a few more one can attract the attention of the customers and hence get a boost to their brand.
Companies should focus on respecting and preserving the communities, cultures and environments they are working through various sustainable measures. They should publicize these activities, as these can help in improving their position in the market as well as their performance.
Branding and sustainability is a coherent perspective. Both of them go hand in hand in order to run a successful company. Future prospects of a company requires successful implementation of sustainability initiatives and setting it as a highly important goal. The companies should research and find out how different sustainability initiatives and outcomes would affect the brand equity as a whole. The environmental culture should also be kept in mind while implementing different strategies, which should penetrate all organization sectors, who understand, collaborate and recognize the importance of brand green orientation. The companies must ensure to deal with the attitude - behavior gap, marketing communication and education with the aim of installing greenness into the consumer's lifestyle and building trust between the brand/company and consumers in order to create public awareness and green behaviour patterns.
Although the scientific investigation of the sustainable branding practice is at the very primary level, there are still not enough companies who have accepted and actually implemented these techniques in their business models. Understanding the consumers properly, making the business processes and brands into the green marketing techniques are the future prospects that one must stress on in order to have a successfully running business in the future.