Beyond the ‘Hour’ this Earth Hour

How marketing is paving the way towards a sustainable society

It is also crucial to approach these efforts in a manner that aligns with the needs and values of consumers
It is also crucial to approach these efforts in a manner that aligns with the needs and values of consumers

By Rajat Abbi

Earth hour is here, and so is the recurring promise of building a sustainable society, steering the wheels of change for a better future.

A small trivia, this concept of earth hour first came to World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) Australia when they teamed up with an advertising agency Leo Burnett Sydney. This was followed by the ‘switch off’ idea in 2006 with the title name as ‘The Big Flick’. Similarly, in today’s day and age it is commendable that many companies are stepping up and making climate pledges. The notion is clear – marketing can be a major contributor in building a sustainable society.

This Earth Hour, corporates should invoke their inner ‘Green Yodha’ and work towards achieving a sustainable future by reimagining their business processes. By leveraging the reach of marketing, companies can educate consumers, create demand for sustainable products, inspire behaviour change, promote equity, and help brands engage with a varied set of audiences.

Rise of Eco-awakening

The growing global focus on sustainability has sparked an eco-awakening in society, compelling individuals to prioritise environmentally-friendly actions and purchases. As a result, eco-conscious consumers are now shaping consumer trends, forcing marketers to innovate and think beyond traditional approaches to effectively engage with the target group.

In response to the pressing issue of climate change, both customers and businesses are increasingly seeking out ways to implement and promote sustainable business practices. However, it is crucial to approach these efforts in a manner that aligns with the needs and values of consumers, and ensures that climate goals are achieved in a meaningful and impactful way.

The emerging generation of environmentally aware consumers, such as Gen Z, are committed towards making a significant impact in conserving the planet. They have learned to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, reducing consumption, waste, and unnecessary expenses. The new-age consumers are highly aware of the importance of aligning with sustainable brands, and are willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly products and services that align with their values.

As per a survey by a leading Market Research company on sustainable consumption in India, around 69 percent of consumers are willing to spend more on products which are sustainably produced or are environmentally friendly.

Therefore, brands must identify new and meaningful ways to connect with their customers. The emphasis of brands has shifted from solely business-driven practices to value-driven approaches. Cutting short, business ethics surpasses being profitable!

Brands, on their part, can implement sustainable practices within their company, such as using renewable energy sources, reducing water usage, implementing a circular economy approach & many more ideas, to reduce their environmental impact and accelerate their sustainability actions.

Evolving brand communications

As countries embark on their sustainability journey, the private sector is poised to play a central role in accelerating the national climate targets. Corporates are increasingly rising up to the occasion and unveiling their climate pledges.

Marketers need to don their thinking hats for weaving the brands sustainability in the storytelling, in turn generating demand for sustainable products and services. Along with storytelling, other techniques like humor or social proof can encourage behaviour change, by promoting activities such as reducing energy consumption, using public transportation, or reducing waste.

Also, marketers can incorporate diverse opinions and experiences in their content to elevate equity in their marketing efforts, building trust and strengthening connections with diverse audiences.

Making the shift to sustainability fun

There is a strong need to spread mass-scale awareness of embracing a sustainable lifestyle to generate impact on ground. Often consumers are unaware about the impact of their purchasing decisions on the environment. Marketers can spread the awareness through social media campaigns, advertisements, or by providing information on product packaging, among others.

The rise of the digital age has significantly strengthened the marketing arsenal. Leveraging gamification by setting up interactive zones at events or using Instagram filters would enable consumers to shift to sustainability in a fun and engaging manner.

Adopting products and technologies like smart home automation solutions and industry 4.0 can help in promoting higher efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability. Also, brainstorming effective marketing campaigns that showcase the practical advantages of such sustainable solutions is essential for promoting their widespread adoption.

Time to innovate packaging

The increasing popularity of refill shops is a testament to the growing momentum of zero packaging and subscription-based models. Customers are now actively seeking ways to reduce waste by refilling products instead of purchasing new ones with unnecessary packaging. Embracing the practice of reusing containers has become a smart and convenient option for individuals looking to incorporate sustainable habits into their daily lives.

Switch to Digital OOH

Switching from traditional OOH content to digital OOH enables advertisers to contribute to reducing emissions and other climate costs. It can also boost a company’s image in its marketplace, showing customers the business is environmentally aware and socially alert. Moreover, it allows brands to instantly change creatives, run content in real time, and attract audience attention with dynamic animation and movement. Not only it promotes sustainability but also enables brands to engage with their target audience in a deeper manner.

In conclusion, by adopting a sustainable approach to marketing, companies can strengthen their connection with their target audience and contribute towards creating a significant impact on the environment and society as a whole. This Earth Hour, let’s pledge to join the ‘good fight; and ignite our inner ‘Green Yodha’ for a sustainable tomorrow.

The author is the vice president – global marketing for Greater India, Schneider Electric.

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First published on: 25-03-2023 at 10:01 IST
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