Published 9 years ago.
About a 5 minute read.
Virginie Helias, Global Sustainability Director at Procter & Gamble, opened this Monday afternoon session talking about how to bridge the existing gap between marketing and sustainability.
P&G is a company targeting 5 billion people. Its marketing approach used to be “traditional,” often focused on its products’ performances, but over the years found that some of its ads were not effective anymore. As a consequence, the company decided to move out from its comfort zone and to articulate new messaging that better engaged its customers.
As Helias stated: “Every aspect of traditional market is today challenged by sustainable marketing and the only common point is based on the consumer’s question: What is in it for me and for my family? Sustainable marketing is not about adding aloe vera to the products but is about linking your greatest environmental and social impacts with what your brand stands for.”
Life cycle assessment, a company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and other similar relevant approaches are the ones that have the power to engage customers.
Purpose can inspire and enrich the content of brand messages, she said; overall, marketing and sustainability should be linked in order to send a purposeful message to stakeholders.
Helias closed by providing some insights on how to engage the market: Integrate sustainability to the company and to the processes; make sustainability desirable and inspirational; and provide experiential learning.
Next, David Hawksworth, Creative Director at Given London, introduced the latest Given research on the opportunities for Marketing and Sustainability to collaborate and bridge their gaps.
As Hawksworth stated: “The past was about brand image; the future is about brand substance. Brand substance is about having a positive impact in the lives of people, as individuals, in their communities, and in the world at large.”
Hawksworth emphasized companies’ challenge to mix marketing and sustainability. He explained how the relationship between people and brands is changing and how a ‘brand image’ is no longer sufficient. The right message today is about ‘brand substance,’ meaning building brands that create positive change on different levels:
1) ME: for people as individuals
2) MY WORLD: for the communities they are part of
3) THE WORLD: for the world people live in
As Hawksworth confirmed: “Being a better company is only half of the story.” Traditionally, sustainability thinking does not easily link to marketing thinking and, on the other hand, marketing is sometimes perceived as a bottleneck.
A mindset shift is crucial as well as a new common ground where marketing gets interested in sustainability and where sustainability brings a new value to marketing.
Hawksworth then shared the “Brand Substance Handbook” and gave insights on a new way of building brands, based on the value that they can create in people's lives:
People: Skills and experience
Processes: Ways of working
Strategic: Principles to adopt
Delivery: Executional rules of thumb
Hawksworth asserted that marketing needs a radical rethink and sustainability plays a fundamental role in this change process.
Finally, TUI Travel PLC’s Senior Brand Manager Annette Pledger, and Sustainability Planning and Communications Manager Rosie Bristow, closed the session sharing their company’s case study on how marketing and sustainability are effectively working together in practice.
Today the company integrates sustainability in the whole brand story and adds a sustainability message to its trips and journeys in order to increase customers’ experience.
The panel illustrated that in the end, marketing and sustainability are about the same thing, and an open, transparent, clear and honest communication between them could help prevent their mutual goals from being “lost in translation.”
Published Nov 4, 2014 10am EST / 7am PST / 3pm GMT / 4pm CET