Sustainability. It’s not just a buzzword anymore. It’s a movement and a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour. It’s a style of communication between brands and buyers that is lead with the heart rather than discounts and special offers. It’s businesses listening to the voices of a new generation.
Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) is leading the way in terms of sustainability. A *huge* 54% of gen Z consider a brand’s environmental efforts to be important when it comes to purchasing their product. While millennials are also up there (48%), baby boomers are not quite on the front foot when it comes to considering a brand’s environmental impact (24%).
What does this mean for marketing in 2020? It means that it’s time for brands to stop just talking the talk and start actually walking the walk. In the digital marketing world, consumers are more exposed than ever. Everything is right at our fingertips. This means that if your brand isn’t keeping up with the demands of consumers, you’re already falling behind. And what do we want? Sustainable, ethical, and eco-friendly products and services.
Those in gen Z are at the forefront of environmental protests, strikes and rallies – so it’s no surprise that they are looking for sustainable practices when purchasing from a brand. One of the biggest turn-offs when it comes to a purchase? Excessive use of plastic. If your brand is using mass amounts of plastic packaging or single-use plastics (such as straws and plastic bags), then you are already behind in the marketing game. The anti-plastic movement has gone mainstream and consumers are demanding change.
The younger generation is also leading the way when it comes to adopting vegan and vegetarian practices. The escalation of plant-based diets can’t be ignored, as many of us are choosing to reduce our meat intake. What does this mean in terms of marketing? Adding vegetarian options to your menu, showing that you are participating in ‘meatless Monday’, or creating a vegan alternative so consumers have that choice.
2020 should be the year that sustainability becomes part of your core business values. Your desire to make a positive impact should come across in your marketing strategy, in an authentic and meaningful way. Young consumers are looking to connect with brands before they consider making a purchase, ensuring that their values are aligned. So show how and why your business cares about sustainability. What you are doing to lead the way in your industry. How you are making a difference and standing up for our environment.
Roughly 70% of gen Z are happy to pay more for brands that support sustainable practices. Knowing that something is locally sourced, 100% recyclable, or vegan takes precedence over price. Gen Z has spoken, and it is up to you to listen.
Here at SBJ Studios, we care deeply about sustainably and are *extremely* passionate about working with brands that are as devoted to these values as we are. Our incredible clients are doing amazing things in the way of sustainability (which means they are also #nailing their marketing).
The essence of sustainable marketing is that your brand is positioned as an active, compassionate, and devoted figure when it comes to the environment and caring for our planet. Humanise your brand and show consumers why they should choose you over the competition. Demonstrate that these are not just buzzwords or trending topics to you, but a real commitment to improving our home for generations to come.
Author: Hannah Tiziani – Content Marketing Manager at SBJ