Effective marketing of Sustainability

The social experience of your brand
Effective marketing of Sustainability
Publ. date 16 Jul 2009
Despite the economic downturn, sustainability is still high on the corporate and governmental agenda. Fortunately, as our problems with the environment and social injustice in the world go a layer deeper than the financial challenges the market is facing at the moment. The bottom line is though that, in times of budgetary constraints, sustainability related initiative have an increased need to be focused and value adding. This trend toward maturity also fits perfectly in the global development of sustainability as a theme.


The approach of corporations and governments is becoming increasingly adequate and the integration with the core business is slowly taking shape. The consumer is also on the move. The sustainable consumer doesn’t exist anymore. Over twelve years ago only 15% of the American customers was interested in green products. And only 5% was willing to buy a premium for green products; they could be found mainly in the category of die-hard activists; the so-called Greenbacks (Ottman/Roper Starch Worldwide, 1996). This broadening of the green consumer can also be found in a number of trends such as:

  • Growing consciousness; increasingly consumers are trying to measure and reduce their energy consumption. For example, Nuon markets an Eco-button that is used to push computers into the standby mode and calculates the resulting energy saving for the user.
  • Green is cheaper; brands promote “green” more and more as cheaper. This relates to more fuel efficient cars, reduced addition, but also to saving €1,- by washing at a lower temperature with Ariel washing powder.
  • Rewarding green behavior; at some of its establishments, Ikea allows customers with a hybrid car to park closely to the shop’s entrance.

Social Responsibility Scan

The central question in marketing is of course which social issues matter for a brand. Although social responsibility first and foremost has to be authentic and stemming from an internal vision, it doesn’t make a lot of sence to connect a brand to social issues that are perceived by the customer as irrelevant for that specific brand. From that perspective GfK and Finch & Beak have developed the Social Responsibility Scan. Rooted in continuous monitoring of a representative group of European consumers and supplementary sector-specific research the relevant issues per sector are determined. Following that supplementary research is done per brand on the existing CSR strategy, the positioning, and the relevant performance.


For more information on the Social Responsibility Scan, please contact us at hello@finchandbeak.com for more information.

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