Let´s reflect for a moment. Sudden weather changes, rising Earth temperature and melting icebergs. Yes, the same old theme that´s now more than ever nagging into our ears. And consciousness. Surely, it wouldn´t happen to our generation? Well, it´s already on the move. Impacting not only nature but also the global economy. As a result, brands find themselves under considerable public scrutiny. And their reaction is awaited. Many senior executives feel the need to engage in the same way as their consumers. To lead by example. But are the two groups the same? According to a Kin&Co. survey, up to 60% of Britons surveyed believe that corporate executives should actively lead brands in the fight against climate change. After all, it is – at least in the eyes of consumers – corporations that have contributed significantly to negative climate change.
Carolyn Fairbairn, British entrepreneur and Director of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), views the change in brand thinking as a fundamental breakthrough for all businesses: “Companies need to respond to the growing investors’ demands and customers by prioritising climate change. It is not just avoiding unwanted impacts on nature, it´s about leveraging the strategy to create a unique competitive advantage.” Applicable in all markets, brands are already stirring positively in the right direction. And we have the numbers to prove it. 181 chief executives of the 200 largest U.S. companies have officially changed their businesses mission in 2019 – first and foremost to improve the environment and society, then to look at the financial gains. This is also prevalent in HR and talent acquisition, where care for the environment and ethical behaviour dominate the candidates’ soft skills.
Brands getting ahead
This data truly reflect the societal mindset, underlined by the expectations of younger generations. But will this be enough? Consumers are sceptical towards brands with negative associations.
Are you going the extra mile?
Brands need more than a good intention and motivation to succeed. Take Greggs for example. One of the UK’s most successful nationwide bakeries, selling 1.5 million hot dogs to customers every week. Despite its dominant position and unquestionable success, the brand decided to respond to an online petition initiated by animal welfare organisation PETA (20,000 supporters signed the petition). Moving into environmental waters, Greggs launched a vegan version of the hot dog last year. Fully driven by a marketing campaign where consumers are urged to take a “step in the right direction.” This risky activity has resulted in huge success. To make a personal impact, Roger Whiteside, the company’s CEO, has become vegan. Inspiring to see, several global brands are actively collaborating to design innovative solutions for other brands. To name a few, Amazon has designed eco-friendly packaging for P&G’s Tide cleaning product. And result? A heavy reduction in the amount of plastic and other packaging used for logistics purposes. Savvy, right?
And how is Slovakia ranking? According to Forbes magazine, “Almost a third of companies (31%) in Slovakia have already introduced various measures to reduce their negative impact on the environment in the past period, while another 46% of businesses have started to introduce such measures in 2020.” And while this naturally leads to inflation, 18% of businesses are not planning to do so.
Philosophy, vision and reality
A proclaimed commitment to fighting climate change expressed in the form of a brand philosophy is not enough for consumers and brand advocates today. Think green, responsible and look for renewable resources – all just the basics. Consumers want action. Real tangible proven action. The bottom line – if you want your brand to get ahead, start adopting a green policy today. Not tomorrow, not next week, today. Because a prepared brand is a winning one. And beware of empty promises. If it´s just superficial, your well-intentioned activity can backfire. We´ll guarantee such vagueness (greenwashing) will do enormous damage to your brand image.
Thinking of going green? Get in touch. We’d love to guide you through this important change. Get in touch. We’d love to guide you through this important change.