Leadership Tips: Being Eco-Friendly to Boost Brand Image
Editor’s note: For this special edition of Leadership Tips, we turn to Rachael Schafer, an industry leader from Tier Level Digital Marketing, to learn all about the benefits of boosting your brand image through eco-friendly strategies.
By Rachael Schafer
Being economically conscious and environmentally friendly is nothing new, but is becoming more of a priority for consumers around the world. With new data being released daily on the increase in the earth’s temperature and the rise of plastic pollution, consumers are starting to care much more about their impact on the environment as well as their carbon footprint.
The Global Sustainability Study of 2021 found that 85 percent of people “have shifted their purchase behavior towards being more sustainable in the past five years,” according to Business Wire. The study also found that one-third of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, and 60 percent of people rated sustainability as an important factor when purchasing.
As a business owner, prioritizing sustainability and eco-friendliness may get you a long way, especially as the demand for sustainable products becomes higher. Shikha Jain, the author of the study, put it best by saying sustainability will become the expectation and not the exception in the future. To survive in the future of consumerism, being eco-friendly should become a priority in your business plan. Making the shift to sustainability and environmentally conscious efforts not only increases your demand but also boosts your brand’s overall image. Here is how taking the step into eco-friendly branding boosts your image:
Attracting environmentally conscious customers
More and more customers are becoming aware of the impact of their purchases on the environment. As previously stated, 85 percent of people have started considering sustainability when making purchases. This is a large number of consumers! By demonstrating eco-friendliness within your brand, you attract environmentally conscious people, which is a large and growing market. A large share of the consumer market is shifting to Millennials and Generation Z, who happen to care more about eco-friendliness than other generations. Compared to the national average of one-third of people willing to pay extra for green products, 39 percent of Generation Z and 42 percent of Millennials are willing to pay for sustainability. A larger percentage of the new generations are prioritizing going green!
A well-thought-out sustainable brand attracts customers who prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility in their purchasing decisions. Oftentimes, these customers continue to support businesses that prioritize sustainability and come back for more. All the more reason to consider eco-friendly branding.
Demonstrating social responsibility
Being eco-friendly demonstrates that a brand is socially responsible and cares about the environment. This helps the brand to build a positive reputation and foster a strong sense of community among customers who share similar values. If you demonstrate an effort to be socially responsible through environmentally conscious products or branding, consumers who look for eco-friendliness will trust you. They will appreciate what you stand for and be more willing to represent your brand. Demonstrating environmental responsibility separates you from the competition as well as shows you care about the future of the planet.
Increasing brand loyalty
Customers who value eco-friendliness are often loyal to brands that share their values. Consumers come back again and again because they already know you prioritize something that is also important to them as a customer. By demonstrating eco-friendliness, a brand increases customer loyalty and fosters a sense of connection with its customers. Not only will you continue to have loyal customers who appreciate your environmentally friendly practices, but you will also attract new customers through your returning customers. Increasing your brand loyalty is sometimes as simple as going eco-friendly.
Differentiation from competitors
In a crowded marketplace, being eco-friendly helps a brand to stand out from competitors. This is especially important for brands in industries where sustainability is becoming increasingly important to customers, such as fashion, food, and beauty. As Shikha Jain said, eventually, eco-friendly products are going to be the expectation, so you might as well get ahead of the curve. Begin integrating eco-friendly branding into your business plan and see how you become bigger competition within your market. Transitioning to an eco-friendly brand may put you on top quicker than you expect. You also may be able to reach a new consumer group that your competition just hasn’t been able to crack.
Adopting eco-friendly practices, such as reducing energy consumption or using recycled materials, leads to cost savings for a brand. These cost savings are passed on to customers, which further enhances a brand’s image as socially responsible and customer-focused. A McKinsey Sustainability survey from 2011 found that businesses that “were integrating sustainable practices to cut costs” resulted in a 19 percent profit increase from the previous year. A report from the New Climate Economy found that businesses in the U.S. that prioritize eco-friendly branding and adopting green policies could gain a total of $26 trillion in economic benefits.
Cost savings from eco-friendly practices don’t only come from using recycled materials. As a business, the environmental cost savings also come from water-saving practices/devices, energy-efficient equipment within your store(s) or property, using solar power, and reducing overall waste during any production. For example, an average business owner or commercial property owner who switches to solar power saves about $500 per month on electricity, coming to a savings of $587,377 over the lifespan of a solar power system. These major cost savings, no matter how you decide to integrate eco-friendly branding, is worth the investment.
Being eco-friendly is a powerful way for a brand to build a positive image. This positive and green image attracts environmentally conscious customers and differentiates your business from competitors. There’s also the possibility to save money and cut costs within your business if you make the switch to eco-friendly practices. Customers and consumers also notice your demonstration of social responsibility and form loyalties to companies that show they care. There are many reasons why being eco-friendly could boost your brand image, but you’ll have to go green yourself to see all the benefits. Why not save the planet while boosting your brand?