Communicating a Sustainable Brand – Marketing Minute

by Deb DeFreeuw, President and Certified Brand Strategist

We know that sustainability and eco-friendly are big buzzwords in our culture, and companies like Patagonia are champions of a circular economy. But what does this mean for the average business, who may or may not be directly connected to a market where sustainability is encouraged? You may know it’s the right thing to be “more green”, but how do you communicate this in a way that’s authentic to your brand? Let’s take a look at some best practices on communicating a sustainable brand.

First, what is brand? Who are you, what you do, WHY it matters (The company WHY, its purpose / beliefs, touchpoints (how the phone is answered, color of the decor, how you are greeted by salesperson, the scent, etc.) For example – when you walk into a Starbucks – it is the entire experience. Practical and emotional experience.

A Sustainable Brand

A sustainable brand is one that represents a company, organization or person whose products, services and activities are:

  • morally correct
  • do not harm people, animals and the environment
  • contribute to society and public good in a responsible, positive, and sustainable way

Communicating a Sustainable Brand

Communications is a very important pillar because it is one of the most powerful tools to give exposure to the brand. If something gets wrong, it is very likely that the brand will lose the trust of its consumers.
Here are some ideas to consider for building a communications strategy for a sustainable brand:

  • Use simple language: avoid using complicated scientific or legal sentences in your communication materials (including packaging labels).
  • Don’t lie: Sustainable brands are authentic and do not create false ideas or expectations.
  • Be open and transparent: about your company’s activities, partners and impact on society.
  • Deliver what you promise: every brand promises something to its consumers. If a promise is not delivered, it is likely that consumers will start losing trust in the brand and feel betrayed. So it is important to align perceptions with reality. The brand promise communicated to consumers’ needs to be aligned with what the company is capable to deliver.

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