Marketing in the context of a sustainability oriented enterprise can buoy confidence and build consumer loyalty. Advertising and marketing that is about authentic communications can combat the cynicism that permeates popular consciousness particularly in the developed world.
While those in the developing world may be less mistrustful than those in wealthier nations this may be attributable to the fact that they have a shorter history of being bombarded with multichannel advertising and marketing. If their experience mirrors that of the developed world, they can be expected to grow more cynical over time.
The fact that so many brands commonly seek to manipulate and ultimately misinform consumers is harmful to all forms of advertising. Many consumers expect to be lied to and this creates an additional hurdle that brand communications must surmount.
Being authentic means telling the truth, not only as a means of respecting legal and regulatory demands but as part of a strategy that is transparent and sincere.
Although it should be noted that there are some industries that are incapable of selling their products by being sincere and earnest. The tobacco and fossil fuel industries are prime examples. You cannot move product in either of these two industries by telling the truth.
Marketing in the context of sustainability is undeniably onerous but it can also be very lucrative. Advertising that is consistent with sustainability reflects endeavors that go beyond selling product. These types of efforts are part of a circular feedback loop that impels a company to look at itself from the outside in.
One of the best illustrations of a sustainability themed marketing approach comes from outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia. Patagonia’s advertising has made waves due to their approach to marketing. They went beyond taking back old garments and encouraged garment exchanges. They are arguably among the most responsible companies in the world as evinced through campaigns that even encouraged consumers not buy their products unless they really need them. While their marketing may seem counter-intuitive, their message resonates with consumers and forges strong brand loyalty.