There is a sustainable business mindset that is gaining tremendous momentum, yet many companies are still just coming to grips with it: Today’s consumers are becoming more socio/eco aware and companies with a traditional business approach are sure to witness a diminishing return in simple product marketing.
Described in greater detail in the Bloomberg Businessweek article, The Key to Success? Your Corporate Mission, today’s consumers are less focused on products than they are on the companies who sell them.
“The world has wised up. No one is going to be tricked into buying something by cute TV commercials. In the Internet Age, everyone has the ability to find out everything about your company, market, and products. If you want to sell, you’d better show customers that you care intensely about your product and what it stands for.”
This increase in buyer eco awareness has resulted in a significant shift in business expectations. Executives now realize that a solid reputation goes beyond product characteristics. Despite the myth, you do not need to be an environmental business to have a sustainable business reputation. The simple truth is that consumers are now in driver’s seat and business actions speak louder than words.
In fact, a study by Green Seal and EnviroMedia Social Marketing reveals:
Because not all businesses and individuals are at the same level of sustainability understanding or implementation, the characteristics often used to create comparisons can lead to different conclusions. For this reason, corporate communications and stakeholder engagement around sustainability issues is becoming more critical.
Addressing this point, 5 Reasons Blogging and Social Media Builds Better Green Brands illustrates how corporate communications are changing. It says, "a major component of any corporate sustainability plan isn’t so much how a company carries out those strategies but also how it communicates it to its many stakeholders. There is an emerging role of social media for stakeholder engagement and for businesses to communicate their broader corporate responsibility agenda."
A strong emphasis on reputation management is not a new concept, but it has become especially important in driving consumer eco awareness and business sustainability perception. As green consumers are seeking out companies that deliver on their expectations, the key is to not just promote but to engage with the outside world.
Julie Urlaub is the founder and managing partner of Taiga Company, a sustainability social media consulting firm, where she aids clients to powerfully engage in sustainability-related issues and stakeholder communications in the social space.
Leveraging 15 years of business development and communications expertise in the energy, medical and IT industries, she now consults, blogs, tweets and advises clients on a variety of issues related to the intersection between environmental stewardship, sustainable business practices, and the bottom-line benefits of sustainability strategies. Julie leverages a BA in Political Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and IT studies from Southern Methodist University to meet the social, technological, and environmental business objectives of Taiga's clients.
Her effervescent attitude inspires others to eco action. Leading by example, with over 25,000 Twitter followers and a blog with global reach, she works with companies to maximize sustainability strategies and to communicate how their sustainability strategies are making a difference in their business and in our world. Not only does Julie walk the talk, she rides it, too, as an endurance mountain bike racer.
image: Ingmar Zahorsky via Flickr cc (some rights reserved)