Marketing is all about putting customers at the heart of your business and responding to their needs and wants. In a challenging economic climate your customer needs to trust that your product offers them something unique in terms of style, quality and sustainability. Your business ethics can be a powerful marketing tool and should form a key part of your marketing strategy when combined with the quality and style of your product.
There is no doubt that consumers are increasingly concerned about issues of social and environmental sustainability and fashion brands such as Patagonia and Howies are excellent examples of businesses that understand and effectively target these ethically aware consumers. They are transparent about their processes and their ethics and integrate these values as part of their brand identity, whilst avoiding the pitfalls of greenwash.
Understanding your customer is the first and most important element of marketing a brand successfully. When you approach a business with social and environmental sustainability in mind you are factoring in a different set of customer concerns. You must assess what your product makes the customer feel in style terms but also what they feel about the impact their buying power has on the world around them.
Once you understand your customer you can start thinking about the competition.
Analysing the competition and how your product fits into the existing market is another key element of creating a successful business. Undoubtedly the costs of running a business in a sustainable way will be higher in some areas. You need to assess how your product will compete with other sustainably sourced products and also with cheaper less ethical products. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are:
- What products and companies will compete with you?
- Will they compete with you across the board, or just for certain products, certain customers, or in certain locations?
- How will your products or services be better than those offered by the competition?
The Sustainable Marketing Knowledge Network
The UK's leading alternative consumer organisation
An ethical business network
A guide to avoiding greenwash
Leading environmentally aware brand
One of the most successful sustainable brands