How sustainability can be used to build brand kudos and sales

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sustainability Business Marketing

Sustainability seems increasingly complicated and unavoidable these days, but an industry expert believes that weaving this key issue into the branding and marketing tapestry can pay huge dividends.

Speaking at this week’s Natural Beauty Summit, Bernard Gindre, founder of consultancy ethikentėt, explained how making sustainability a core part of a business strategy can reinforce an ethical marketing campaign.

Successful implementation of such a campaign can help to build a rapport with the brand for consumers, something that can ultimately translate into sales growth, Gindre believes.

ethikentėt was established in 2006 and the consultancy has been developed around the principles of cause and related marketing, while building on Gindre’s 20 years of experience spent developing the independent marketing agency Lame de Fond.

Doing 'good' helps to improve brand image

The goal of ethikentėt is to prove to businesses that doing ‘good’ and building a brand’s image on this basis can be invaluable as a means of enabling the consumer to further engage and identify with the brand.

Although Gindre has worked in a variety of areas in the fast moving consumer goods market, he says the cause related marketing philosophy is transferable across many different categories, but is particularly pertinent to the cosmetics and personal care field.

However, as is the case with all the other consumer goods categories, there are pitfalls that have to be avoided if the consumer is to be successfully engaged, warns Gindre.

The fact that sustainability is unavoidable is simply due to the fact that in recent years there has been a total barrage of information about the importance of eco awareness and the problems associated with global warning.

Avoid the green band wagon!

In turn, this has also led to innumerable claims by businesses that they are contributing to this resulting eco responsible and sustainable philosophy.

However, during his presentation, Gindre pointed to the fact that today’s consumer is now increasingly aware of all issues relating to sustainability, which means that companies trying to jump on the green bandwagon without being able to justify it, will soon be caught out.

Leading on from this is what is described as the ‘win/win situation', one that is built around the all-important cause. Crucial to this is that the message for the cause is clearly communicated to the consumer, alongside what it does and the benefits.

Body Shop and Lush on the right track

Referring to specific examples of this type of campaign during his presentation, Gindre pointed out how personal care businesses such as The Body Shop and Lush, together with Sara Lee’s Sanex brand, had all had particular success in this area.

Key to the success has been the fact that the marketing campaigns used by all of these businesses have managed to engage the consumer by highlighting the ethical and eco-friendly manufacturing processes involved in the production of the brands.

Ultimately, Gindre believes that the more targeted and engaging a campaign to highlight ethical or eco-friendly practices, the more likely this is to engage the consumer, and ultimately, to translate into market growth and increased revenues.

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