Why Sustainability Can Benefit Your Brand
What does sustainability have to do with your brand? Or, more accurately, what doesn’t sustainability have to do with it? In this short read, we’ll be exploring why sustainability can benefit your business. Fundamentally, the answer is based on your customer and understanding their expectations for a sustainable reality.
What your customers and potential clients perceive about your brand is more important than the services or products your business has to offer. And in relation to sustainability and a greener economy, this fact has never been more crucial and farther from the truth.
Consumers nowadays are becoming more aware of how the environment, social sphere, and economy are taking a hit as a result of negligence from systemic bodies. Whether it’s polluted waters, inequality and injustice, or reduced economic growth, consumers feel the need for socially driven, conscientious and for-purpose brands.
With less trust in valueless companies driven only by the pursuit of profit, consumers now look to brands that vocalize their commitment to sustainability and take actions to attain a greener economy.
What’s exciting is that you as a brand can be a part of the new change, helping to make the world a better place within your individual niche. However, it’s important we first understand what sustainability is to have a better idea of how to implement it within your business.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability, in general, involves reducing waste, creating inclusive societies, and better management of economic resources. As a result, the three pillars of sustainability include the environment, community, and economy or in other terms; people, planet and profit.
Environment because every product made, or service rendered has a link back to nature.
It is a fact that conversations related to sustainability are a vast and important topic for both individuals and collective bodies such as governments, organizations, businesses, and consumers. Additionally, research shows that the generations which take sustainability as a new way of life, and not just a buzzword, are Millennials and Generation Z. These two generations will determine how business is conducted in the future which is why it’s never been more important to incorporate sustainability into your brand. It’s important to note here, however, that sustainability isn’t just a simple, vague term which you can use to promote your business without any credibility to support such claims. Rather, it’s an attitude and intrinsic approach which should found your company culture, values and mission statement.
How will your business and brand fit in?
As a business, you will need to know what the costs are to incorporate a sustainable approach into your brand DNA.
One typical pitfall business’ fall into is vocalizing their commitment to sustainability and not actually taking any action on such. A reason for this is there is, to some, an intrinsic conflict between taking measures for a greener economy and increasing the bottom line, which is preferably a short-term assumption.
In the long term, pursuing sustainable developments and ideologies will increase in your brand’s bottom line. Examples of major brands benefiting from actively seeking a greener economy are Unilever and Nike. There are benefits that come with being pro-sustainability, and we’ll be looking at 5 of them here.
Benefits of Sustainability for your Brand
Driving a positive change
This involves having a bigger picture of what a greener economy would look like and pursuing actions to achieve that vision. Considering questions such as ‘does your brand reduce waste’ or ‘does it have a positive impact on the local community?’, will help guide driving a positive change.
Taking the first step to implement sustainability will put your brand at the forefront of change. This can consequently inspire your existing clientele as well as potential customers to follow the trend, becoming more sustainable. At its core, sustainability is about ensuring your brand can be resilient and thrive in the future whilst contributing to communities, doing no harm to future generations and being part of a greener economy. If you’re doing that, you’re absolutely driving positive change!
Improved brand value and reputation
People want to be associated with something that has a positive impact on society in general. Positioning your brand and business operations as one that is sustainable will attract more customers and retain talented staff.
As more people associate with your business, your brand reputation increases as well as your brand value. This can improve relations with stakeholders and lead to a possible rise in business opportunities. Since your brand is focused on all three bottom lines, it has a better chance of acquiring more investment in the long term.
Building brand trust and loyalty
With a focus on a greener economy and pushing sustainability for the business triple bottom line, seeing an increase in brand loyalty is likely.
Customers and employees feel comfortable with brands that have all three pillars, especially the environment and society, as part of their mission.
As a result, brand trust is improved, and it becomes far easier to establish better customer engagement. By having conversations with employees and customers, your brand will gain information and insight into the gaps that still exist. With that knowledge, your business is in a better position to create a solution which addresses the demand.
A platform for innovation and efficiency
With the need to find more sustainable ways to run a business, companies now are ‘forced’ to come up with new pathways to continue operations. At first, it may seem like an impossible route to take, but the long-term benefits are guaranteed.
Striving for a greener economy will eventually give birth to innovative ideas and more efficient ways of running your operations. With an eye on sustainability, your brand will be able to understand and effectively adapt to emerging market trends in your sector. Likewise, with efficient use of resources, there will be a decrease in the cost of operations and better growth, saving you both time and money in the long run.
While this may be debated as counterintuitive, research has shown that including sustainability in a business’s agenda can increase profit margins.
“…research by Oxford University and others confirms that good sustainability and ESG practices correlate with lower operating costs, better profitability and superior share price performance.”
An explanation for this could be that brands are having a higher value and thus attracting more investments. Also, reduced cost operations, as a result of employing efficient methods, will reduce expenses.
In exploring the ways in which sustainability can benefit your brand, it’s clear that there are a wealth of reasons why considering people, the planet and your brand’s profitability are fundamental. By doing so through a sustainable lens, your business is more likely to succeed in the future and achieve success for years to come.
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