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Opinion

March 29, 2023

February 9, 2023

Creating a TV commercial for a 50-year-old finance brand

Doing what’s best for people, planet, and profit

Stephen Ardern

Managing Director

Improving your brand’s sustainability efforts isn’t just the right thing to do for the planet – research shows it has a positive impact on the overall health of your business too

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In today’s boardrooms, sustainability is increasingly becoming a vital aspect of an organisation's brand strategy.

Consumers are becoming more conscious of the environmental and social impacts of the products they buy, and they are looking for brands that align with their values.

Investors are also increasing pressure on organisations to consider sustainability in their operations.

As a result, successful brands are increasingly becoming those brands that are truly sustainable.

Boston Consulting Group highlighted that companies that prioritise sustainability outperform their peers financially, with a median total return to shareholders of 16% per year compared to non-sustainably focused companies’ median of 3%.

At its core, sustainability is about creating value for all stakeholders in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

It involves balancing economic, social, and environmental considerations to create long-term value for everyone involved.

In the context of branding, sustainability means creating a brand that is resilient, responsible, and responsive to the changing needs of consumers, employees, and the environment.

And the payoff is increasing the value of your brand.

Accenture found that companies that prioritise sustainability and have a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) reputation have a higher brand value and customer loyalty.

Sustainability is becoming a key differentiator in the marketplace.

As more and more brands make ESG commitments, it becomes harder for brands that are not sustainable to compete.

Consumers are becoming savvier, and they are increasingly choosing to buy from brands that they perceive as responsible and environmentally friendly.

Brands that don’t take sustainability seriously risk losing market share to those that do.

A clear commitment to sustainability also helps create a strong sense of purpose, identity, and values that are clear to customers.

This creates a sense of authenticity and trust that is hard to replicate.

Additionally, by investing in sustainable solutions, brands can tap into growing consumer demand for products that align with their values.

Sustainability can also help brands to improve their operations, which in turn can help to improve their bottom line.

Brands committed to more sustainable working practices often take a more holistic view of their operations, and they can identify areas that can improve efficiency and reduce costs.

By committing to sustainability, brands can often create new revenue streams by selling sustainable products or services.

  • A study by the Carbon Trust found that companies that implement sustainable practices have a lower risk of operational disruptions and supply chain issues
  • A report by McKinsey & Company found that companies that prioritise sustainability in their operations and supply chain have a more resilient and efficient business, with cost savings of up to 20%.
  • The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership found that companies prioritising sustainability are more likely to be innovative, with a higher likelihood of introducing new products and services.

Sustainability can help to improve employee engagement and retention.

Brands committed to sustainability often create a sense of purpose and meaning among employees, which can lead to improved employee satisfaction and retention.

By making clear commitments that resonate with employees, brands can create a positive reputation, which can help to attract top talent.

A report by Deloitte found that companies with strong sustainability practices have lower employee turnover rates and higher levels of employee engagement.

This isn’t only true of the B2C space. Sustainability is equally important to B2B.

More scrutiny than ever before is being placed on the supply chain.

And improved employee engagement, enhanced brand reputation, and stronger customer loyalty are vital regardless of whether an organisation is B2C or B2B.

Those brands leading the charge in this area are increasingly recognised for their progress.

This, in turn, is helping differentiate from competitors, creating a strong sense of purpose and identity, improving employee engagement and retention, and operational efficiency that improves the bottom line.

With more demand from customers and within the supply chain, it’s clear that the brands unable to adapt to these demands will fall behind and will eventually face extinction.

The most important consideration is communication.

Stakeholders must understand the priorities around sustainability and any progress made.

Communication needs to be clear and make sense.

All too often, corporate messaging is lost in high highfalutin or oblique messages that are ambiguous or simply lost.

Here are five considerations for improving communication in this area:

1. Be transparent

Be open about the practices and policies that make your brand sustainable.

2. Use clear language

Use specific, measurable terms and avoid buzzwords and vague claims.

3. Show your impact

Use data and storytelling to demonstrate the impact your brand is making, but make it clear for everyone to understand.

4. Engage your customers

Encourage customer involvement in your sustainability initiatives by offering ways to get involved.

5. Continuously improve

Continuously evaluate and improve your sustainability practices.

Set new goals, experiment with new technologies, and communicate your progress to your customers.

So what next?

We work with a growing number of clients that have the ambition to be more sustainable.

They realise ther’'s lots of work to do. They plan for the long term and adapt to changes in the short term. They communicate clearly and regularly. They have the ambition to be better. And they will be more successful for it.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your brand, email enquiries@wearecontinuous.net

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Never stand still

When uncertainty and shifting expectations are the new normal, brands no longer need radical transformation. What’s needed is long-term thinking and the ability to adapt quickly.

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