Blogger’s Park: Brand and beyond

Why sustainability is the seed for a resilient future. In a country as diverse as ours, sustainability is becoming a driver of brand choice, making it necessary for marketing to take on a more transformative role.

Karishma Gupta and Barsha Chakraborty

95% of Indian Gen Zs and Millennials try to minimise their personal impact on the environment (Deloitte Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 2022), gravitating towards brands that mirror this ethos. Deloitte’s recent report, “Marketing Trends 2023: The India story” shows how sustainability has captured the attention of marketers.

As India steps into its ‘Decade of Action’, the government is implementing measures to reduce single-use plastic (banned in most states) and recycle them; it’s encouraging to see India Inc paving the way for others.

According to Deloitte’s CxO Sustainability report, 94% CxOs currently (compared to 61%, eight months ago) agree that with immediate action, we can limit the worst effects of climate change. As the bridge between consumers and brands, marketers have the power to positively influence customer behavior, while creating ‘impact that matters’.

This brings to light, three key imperatives for brands to ensure that their sustainability intent finds the desired actions.

1. Co-opt customers in sustainability journey: As more brands navigate revamping product offerings, new launches and CSR activities in a mindful manner, it’s advisable to bring along customers to script that journey so there’s a sense of ownership and creation of brand advocacy from the get-go. It is important for customers to believe in the process of making responsible choices and see sustainability as an emotional motivator, rather than just brand-speak.

2. Back intent with execution: Instead of woke washing or simply creating campaigns promoting themselves, brands must showcase concrete action taken to be sustainable. For example, fashion brands making the conscious shift towards sustainable textiles, business conglomerates investing in sustainable supply chains, and FMCG brands leveraging sustainable packaging, sourcing, and efficient energy use in a big way.

3. Adopt affordable sustainability: Costs play a large role in the decision-making process, which deters brands from taking a long-term outlook and implementing these future-ready changes. People would like to make better choices while shopping, but they need help in being able to access, afford and adopt more sustainable options. For CMOs to help develop a singular idea of sustainability that translates across the organisation, they must create initiatives and campaigns that take the customer along their journey and invest in making sustainable options accessible and available to all.

The original article was published in Financial Express on 14th June 2023.

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