Being a Sustainable Brand Is Now An Expectation
What does it mean to be a sustainable brand? Sustainability measures have become table stakes for Fortune 500 companies. People now expect every reputable business to have a sustainability department and as a result, some level of corporate sustainability reporting is the norm. More and more companies are becoming B Corp because they believe in the inherent value of using business to solve social and environmental problems. A shift is underway to make sustainable business something every department needs to get behind.
But Where’s The Brand?
Yet even with all the forward momentum, for most companies, sustainability is the second or third tier talking point for the brand. Often times, there’s a disconnect between the business’s sustainability mission and the brand. Sustainability is viewed as a part of the business but not relevant to the brand’s image, story, or reputation. Companies that have invested in becoming B Corp certified often place the B Corp logo on their website like a merit badge but fall short of truly integrating their hard work in sustainability into their core brand message. As a result, these companies are failing to give customers and employees an obvious reason to embrace their brand. Many brands keep sustainability as a brand level message in the shadows, holding minimal influence on the brand’s success.
Your impact on the world matters to both your employees and your customers. People are more interested now than ever before to better understand what good your company is doing in the world. Today your financial, social, and sustainable business practices are a key component to making an honest impact. To really stand apart and make your brand more meaningful in the hearts and minds of all your stakeholders, your brand should integrate your sustainability efforts into your brand communications. The good your business does doesn’t belong buried in a sustainability report. It should be integrated into your brand strategy. We all know it’s exhausting to navigate the infinite number of brands available today. As a result, people are looking for a clear choice in the market, eager to choose brands that mean something to them and are working to make the world better a better place.
Communicating as a Sustainable Brand
Sustainable business practices are complex in nature and can be intimidating to talk about. Do you know what a GRI is, or do you even care? For most people, probably not. But GRI is a measurable tool to determine how sustainabile a business is, and it is gaining more traction every day. However, most people don’t want to dig into the details. Instead, they want it top-lined. That’s where your brand comes into play – communicating clearly, and meaningfully as a sutainable brand. The people who are more interested in the details can dig further into your sustainability report. But for most, a sustainable brand is enough. When the brand encorporates the sustainability efforts of the business, the brand resonates more deeply and meaningfully with far more people. And that’s good for your business too.
Bringing Your Sustainability into Your Narrative
In today’s world, it is ineffective and inefficient to keep sustainability messages and the brand separate. Your customers are looking for information about what your brand is doing to make a difference. So there’s no reason to keep that message sidelined. Howevever, it’s important that this messages aligns with the brand. If not, it risks being perceived as inauthentic.
Aligning your brand and your business’s sustainability efforts into one unifying story will strengthen the brand and give customers and employees a clear reason to choose you. Businesses who are doing this are finding success. Own and communicate that message everywhere, not just on specific channels for specific audiences. Show all the brand stakeholders and audiences what the brand stands for and why it matters. By fusing your brand with your sustainability mission to create the leading brand story, you’ll inspire employees and customers to be better, too. When we all take a stand to make the world better and choose brands that are doing just that, we all win.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco branding agency.