Climate Change Brand Purpose Climate Crisis

Sustainability is the strategy: how to make your marketing matter

By Maddy Cooper

Brilliant Noise


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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February 4, 2022 | 4 min read

What if your work mattered? Really mattered. Not just to your brand, but to the people you love and to the planet? Imagine how much more drive, unity and success you’d see in your teams if they knew they were making a difference. Brilliant Noise co-founder Maddy Cooper explores how marketers can create sustainable storytelling with purpose.

Brilliant Noise on how brands can successfully avoid greenwashing.

Brilliant Noise on how brands can successfully avoid greenwashing.

59% of consumers now prefer to buy from brands they know are addressing the climate emergency – and 91% wish to see brands 'show by example' and demonstrate the actions they are taking to support the planet.

With the number of conscious consumers on the rise, the conflict of interest between protecting the planet and growing your brand is disappearing, thank goodness. So why not stand out and start leading that change by telling your sustainability story?

We marketers need to realize our responsibility and grasp the opportunity. But whether it’s down to the fear of being caught out for greenwashing or the insecurity of investing in new sustainable products and processes, too many brands are staying deadly silent during the most significant cultural and commercial moment of our time.

Don’t wait to be perfect – be authentic, determined and make progress.

There’s no going back

The metrics for marketing success are evolving. From now on, there’s no success without sustainability. Sure, great marketers are recognized for cutting edge creative and impressive ROI – it’s what we do. But everything we do has to start serving the purpose of decarbonization and reaching net zero by 2030. Besides, there are no award ceremonies or famous marketing campaigns on a dead planet. If growth isn’t green, it just doesn’t matter anymore.

Make haste, don’t be hasty

There’s nothing like rising global temperatures and increased consumer demand for sustainable products to light a flame under any marketer's rear end. But sustainability marketing strategies aren’t something to be rushed.

Conscious consumers can spot greenwashing a mile off. Pushing out hasty campaigns without certified sustainability credentials, genuine action or a clear brand voice is just an offputting recipe for cliché messaging and greenwashing allegations.

To be frank, the only brands that have to worry about greenwashing are those that are greenwashing. Regardless of your brand’s legacies, if sustainable policies and real actions come first, your campaigns will stand up to criticism. Don’t waste precious time and resources making and defending more mistakes. Neither your budget nor the planet can afford that.

Need an example?

Take Mastercard, for instance. In 2020, Mastercard launched the Sustainable Materials Directory, which encourages the use of certified, sustainable materials by card manufacturers across the supply chain. But they haven’t stopped there. In 2021, the Mastercard network was equipped with a tool that calculates the carbon footprint of any purchase made using a Mastercard-branded card.

According to IBM, 71% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for brands that can provide traceability. By arming consumers with powerful knowledge that enables them to make more conscious decisions in their day-to-day spending, Mastercard is showing a genuine responsibility and commitment to sustainability right across the value chain with an integrated sustainability strategy.

We’re serious. Are you?

So what can all brands do? No matter their legacies and positioning, they need to show their consumers that they mean business when it comes to sustainability.

Sustainability is the opportunity for marketers this year and beyond. So let’s make it matter.

Find out more about anti-greenwashing here. There are ten essential tips for avoiding greenwashing, as well as a complete guide (with examples) to authentic and creative sustainability storytelling.

Climate Change Brand Purpose Climate Crisis

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