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5 Environmental branding myths that can hurt your brand

Article excerpt or TLDR:

While environmental branding is gaining traction in the hearts and minds of customers, many business owners continue to have certain false beliefs that are harming their overall image. From simply referring to oneself as green and expecting a slew of new “green” consumers, believing environmentally conscious shoppers do not purchase as much as typical customers, thinking you don’t need an environmental message to make an environmental brand or "people will choose me simply because we care about the environment" to dismissing any brand strategy services to build an environmental brand. They all can have serious implications on your business and prevent your environmental brand from really connecting with your target audience.

A roman statue on the right side with a sign on the left that reads: "5 Environmental branding myths that can hurt your brand".

There is something that every business owner needs to understand—Environmental Branding is here to stay. People have woken up to the fact that being “green” is good for our economy, society, and the environment.

This has led to a groundbreaking shift in the way we view environmental issues and businesses have responded. They have realized that environmental issues are social issues like transparency, fair trade and corporate responsibility.

Brand analysis is one of the most crucial components of running a business, whether or not it is environmentally friendly. Branding assists businesses in communicating their values, personality, and mission. It is essential to attract new consumers while also improving the company’s reputation and loyalty.

Keeping this in mind, while environmental branding is gaining traction in the hearts and minds of customers, many business owners continue to have certain false beliefs that are harming their brand and overall image.

We’ll start with the fallacies that many new companies hold before delving into the big ones that are harming your environmental brand in the eyes of your target customer.

Table of Contents/Myths

  1. Simply referring to oneself as green and expecting a slew of new “green” consumers
  2. Environmentally conscious shoppers do not purchase as much as typical customers.
  3. You don’t need an environmental message to make an environmental brand
  4. People will choose me simply because we care about the environment
  5. I don’t need any brand strategy services to build an environmental brand
  6. What's next?
An airport walkway with a green billboard on the side.
Photo by Roman Chyller on Unsplash

1. Simply referring to oneself as green and expecting a slew of new “green” consumers

Green is not a marketing message. Green is not a product, nor a service, nor even a company. Green is a way of life for many people.

Attempting to “sell green” to the public will always fail. Putting an environmental spin on your business is not the same as being environmentally conscious.

Greenwashing, the technique of deceiving consumers into believing that products and/or services are ecologically friendly when they are not, has been around for a while, but with consumerism at an all-time high, it is more popular than ever.

It’s simple to lie about being green, and because so many customers are environmentally sensitive these days (and because most of us don’t have the time or energy to double-check everything we read), firms get away with it as well.

The only way to call yourself green — or promote your product or service — is if you are truly ecologically friendly.

And it all starts and ends with your products and/or service, from manufacture to disposal (if applicable). The only way a firm can be deemed green is if it goes beyond using many of the all so familiar marketing gimmicks.

Getting the word out about your environmental brand takes time, money, and most of all, proper research. Green businesses must work harder to spread the news about their green projects, but the returns may be substantial.

You must show how being environmentally friendly will benefit your audience if they select your product over a similar one.

That means you must first determine what your target audience desires and then demonstrate how your particular brand may help them attain those desires.

For example, if you work in the solar energy industry, you could inform people that using solar panels saves them money while also helping the environment. People who want to save money will listen if you explain how going green can help them achieve that goal.

Green marketing is a long-term process that takes a significant amount of study and works on your behalf. You’ll need to figure out how to sell your environmentally friendly business and products to green consumers, especially.

However, your efforts will be rewarded when you witness an increase in sales from environmentally conscious clients.

A bird's eye view of a shopping mall.
Photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash

2. Environmentally conscious shoppers do not purchase as much as typical customers.

Many consumers are concerned about environmental issues, and many businesses aim to cater to these consumers by selling eco-friendly products.

But, do clients of environmental brands spend more money than those who shop at traditional corporations or brands?

The answer, according to recent research published in the Journal of Consumer Research, is yes–but only for companies with strong green credentials.

The researchers performed two studies, one with consumers and the other with business-to-business (B2B) enterprises. Participants in the consumer survey browsed at both an eco-friendly store (which appeared to have been converted from a normal store) and a conventional store.

They were assured that they may test and buy whatever product they chose in either setting.

For things like toys and clothing, the researchers discovered that eco-friendly buyers spent the same amount as conventional customers. Green consumers purchased fewer products than conventional shoppers with food and home goods, where there was less information accessible regarding specific brand promises.

Eco-conscious consumers will check, verify, and vilify any environmental brand if they try to hide their less-environmentally friendly practices.

The more individuals understand the impact of their purchases on the environment, the more likely they are to make choices that help conserve it.

A sustainable business approach can appeal to both environmentally conscious customers and traditional buyers who may not have previously considered a product’s environmental effect.

According to Nielsen research, “consumers who care about sustainability are just as likely to spend the same amount of money on products and services as those who do not.”

The environmentally conscious customer isn’t seeking the lowest alternative; rather, they want things that are better for the environment.

Eco-friendly shoppers are not that different from the mainstream in what they’re looking for in a retailer. Eco-friendly shoppers share the same concerns about price, convenience and selection as conventional shoppers.

The crucial distinction is that some environmentally concerned consumers are not willing, but eager, to pay more for items created with green materials or offered by organizations dedicated to environmental issues.

And out of all the reasons cited for buying greener products — including health, safety, quality and convenience — only one was associated with an increase in the actual purchase of green products: brand image. Customers were more likely to buy from companies that support green causes.

A green speech bubble with a yellow background with three dots in it.
Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

3. You don’t need an environmental message to make an environmental brand

What’s your angle? Most brands are built around a single image or idea that forms their identity.

And, as “branding” continues to permeate every part of our lives, it’s critical to recognize the power of a well-defined brand.

Telling a narrative is about more than selling a product or service; it’s about building an emotional connection with your consumers. It’s about making people feel good about doing their part to help the environment.

So how do you bring this into your brand? You must first understand what your clients want, and then locate something that meets that requirement.

Consider Patagonia, one of the most successful clothing firms in history. Patagonia has long prioritized manufacturing sustainability, and they’ve been public about their attempts to keep production local and decrease their carbon impact.

Consumers want to know why they should care about being environmentally friendly in the first place, not just why they should purchase something in this niche.

So, before you develop your logo, select color schemes, or decide on the packaging, spend some time in brand analysis - identifying your statement and objective.

Then, ensure that everything you do — every advertisement, every sales presentation, every product — promotes that statement and objective.

People desire to help the environment, yet they may do nothing on their own. Purchasing environmentally friendly items allows consumers to feel as if they are doing their part.

Therefore, green products include statements that encourage a sense of solidarity among those who purchase them.

When individuals buy green products, they search for items that have been verified as ecologically friendly by a third party, such as the USDA or Scientific Certification Systems, Inc.

These certifications inform consumers that a product has been examined for its environmental effect and fulfils specified sustainability requirements.

These requirements may differ based on the type of product, however, there are several that apply to many items.

A product, for example, might be manufactured from recyclable materials or include no hazardous ingredients.

But the message is the brand. If you don’t have a clear and meaningful message, your idea won’t succeed.

That’s because consumers when they see your concept, will ask themselves: Why should I care? What’s in it for me? Does this product or service improve my life? Does it connect to my values and beliefs?

The answer to these questions is your message. And you must nail it early in the process because if you don’t, your target audience won’t understand why they need your product or service.

And without a strong understanding of what you’re offering, even if they find value in it, they’re unlikely to become loyal customers.

People protesting with a one holding a sign that reads: "No nature, no future".
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

4. People will choose me simply because we care about the environment

People will not pick your brand because it appears to be environmentally conscious. People may readily get eco-friendly items from other companies if they desire them.

The first stage in building a successful sustainable marketing plan is determining whether your product or service has any environmental advantages.

If your product or service has environmental advantages, you must build an effective marketing strategy emphasizing those benefits.

Most significantly, if a sustainable marketing plan is to attract customers, it must be founded on the truth.

For example, if you offer vegetarian food products because they are less harmful to the environment than meat, promote that fact in your marketing strategy.

Potential clients will not understand why they should buy your brand; it is your responsibility to explain to them why they should.

But here’s the thing: many businesses don’t know that being “green” involves more than selling their products as such.

The good news is that millennials expect corporations to do more to protect the environment.

And here’s the sad truth: even if you’re the greenest company in the world, most people won’t buy from you solely because of that.

Customers are driven by one thing: whether they feel they can get a good deal.

They will buy from your competition if they believe they are receiving a better offer.

That’s why most businesses are prepared to invest to go green if it means making more money in the long term.

Your customers will be no exception.

That means you must attempt to stand out from the crowd in ways other than being green. Such as delivering a superior product at a lower price or embracing technology more than your rivals.

The environmental sustainability movement has grown to where it has become a mainstream marketing phrase.

However, this trend is not only here to stay; it is here to revolutionize the way the world perceives your brand.

Two people drawing different diagrams and descriptions of a marketing strategy.
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

5. I don’t need any brand strategy services to build an environmental brand

Brand strategy services assist you in developing a brand image that successfully conveys the value of your company to its customers.

Successful branding will raise your company’s exposure and awareness, which is essential for long-term success in any market.

The more visible and familiar your brand gets, the more likely someone will be drawn to it–especially if they regard you as the go-to resource for a specific sort of product or service. The aim is to establish a reputation that entices new clients to engage with you.

You can make this happen by developing an environmental brand that clearly states what you offer and how you differentiate yourself from other businesses in your market.

Environmental brand analysis has three distinct phases:

  1. Develop a relevant image of your company that conveys its key beliefs and capabilities.
  2. Creating a plan for communicating this picture to prospective consumers.
  3. Putting initiatives in place to improve your company’s image and exposure in the marketplace.

Yes, we live in a very cynical world today, but that doesn’t mean consumers don’t want companies to make positive changes.

In reality, many customers are driven by the desire to do good with their purchases.

However, if you desire long-term success, it, like every other aspect of your business strategy, requires strategic planning and tactics of its own.

Environmental branding is the practice of instilling a distinct brand image in the minds of eco-inclined consumers.

The environmental brand strategy services focus on offering environmental solutions and raising customer awareness of the green movement.

It is not only about developing logos and slogans but also about improving the consumer’s entire perception of a product or service.

It is critical to note that environmental branding techniques are not suitable for all firms.

The major component in determining if this strategy will work for you is whether your target audience is interested in these sorts of products.

If you are not a marketing or promotional expert, you must work with someone who is. Marketing and promotion are two different concepts and both require unique skills.

Brand strategy professionals often operate in the background, assisting firms in growing through efficient marketing strategies, competitive analysis, and the development of strategic plans for businesses to follow.

These specialists have the knowledge and experience to provide your company with a competitive advantage in the industry.

They do research and use methods like SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to develop plans that are most suited to your company.

A brand strategy service is an essential component of every company’s or organization’s success. The brand’s performance is related to the business’s profitability.

To guarantee that your brand strategy is clear, succinct, and successful, you ensure it is properly communicated. There are so many various approaches to this that it's tough to determine which one is ideal for you.

What's next?

I hope that by identifying and de-bunking these five myths, I can help you be more conscious of the possible implications of your branding decisions.

Whether you’re making a product choice for your post-consumer waste or selecting paper for your brochures, it is critical to make informed decisions that match your environmental brand.

With all the attention that comes with being an environmentally responsible company, it’s easy to slip into these classic pitfalls.

Using environmental messages on any brand is no longer a fresh idea. Most businesses, however, are still battling to find the proper approach to communicate this message in a way that connects with their unique target group.

Businesses at all levels will need to be accountable for the environmental effect of their brands. We have seen a development in business models where sustainability has become an intrinsic part of the decision-making process and is no longer a formality.

There is no single strategy to encourage environmental responsibility. As a result, most businesses take the path that best matches their consumers, identity, and financial needs.

If you wish to talk about your environmental brand strategy, you can always reach me here for a free consultation.

In conclusion, concentrate on the particular environmental issues that you’re tackling and understand your offerings. And through them, form a distinct representation of your environmental brand.

Best of luck.

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