"Only those who move hearts move the world." Ernst Wiechert
For many years now, the hearts of German customers have been moved by one topic: sustainability. Around 75% of citizens associate sustainability with strong emotional connotations such as better health, a higher quality of life and a greater affinity with nature. It is therefore unsurprising that since 2017 more than half of consumers have been describing social and economic responsibility as an important purchasing criterion. Sustainability is not a trend phenomenon, rather the most important touchstone alongside price and quality by which customers judge brands and products.
Customer involvement is expanding into new areas. Traditionally, customers were considered highly involved in the purchase of high-priced products such as cars. Today, however, consumers are also looking at everyday products much more closely in terms of sustainability. As a result, sustainability now also offers industries such as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) a completely new perspective for an emotional relationship and interaction with their customers.
To seize this opportunity, five steps are crucial to success:
- Sustainability as part of the brand core: Companies should start to review and redesign their products and the entire value chain around sustainability. This includes product design, production, packaging, distribution and relationships with customers, employees and partners. In a nutshell: the word of marketing can only be as effective as the actions of the company.
- Transparency: Sustainability is important, but also complicated for customers. Marketing is therefore responsible for communicating three issues in an easily understandable and transparent way: What is the challenge in the area of sustainability? What is the company or brand doing? How can the customer make a positive contribution to the solution by purchasing?
- Sustainability is not everything: Sustainability offers a wide range of possibilities for brands to build their identity. However, it is no substitute for quality, efficiency, experience or price awareness. Rather it goes hand in hand with these other elements. Brands should act in a similar way to world-class athletes who combine character, top performance and "doing the right thing". (Lewis Hamilton and Novak Djokovic, for example)
- Measurement: What constitutes sustainability for customers and companies is in constant flux. It is therefore vital to understand how this development is progressing and how the marketing strategy needs to be adapted in light of these developments. What is important to customers and what moves them? What do customers buy? What do customers want to understand better?
- The right partners: Media partners, testimonials, platforms and formats that themselves embody sustainability are becoming increasingly important for enhancing the credibility of brands. Customers evaluate not only the storyline, the message and the author, but also the medium of distribution.
Companies can only achieve these five things if they implement their sustainability strategy holistically, on a large scale, credibly and rigorously. A large proportion of Germans view sustainability as very important, but at the same time around 70% of them do not understand the product benefits, do not believe the claims or simply do not find the relevant products in the purchasing process.
A brand doing it right
With our sustainability campaign for the product "Finish Quantum Ultimate" from Reckitt Benckiser (RB), we have shown how sustainability can be marketed effectively and holistically.
Since the first "Green Seven Week” in 2009, the Seven.One Entertainment Group has used its reach to draw attention to ecological challenges, provide information and be part of the solution. Our hosts embark on a journey around the globe, culminating in the Green Seven Report. At the same time, we offer a platform to brands committed to sustainability.
The brand "Finish" was one of our official partners this year. As part of the sponsorship, the spots for RB's product "Finish Quantum Ultimate" ran on our channels in "Green Seven Week" environments. With the slogan "No pre-rinsing - save water", the spot drew attention to the responsible use of water - after all, Germans alone waste up to 15.3 billion litres a year by pre-rinsing their dishes. In addition to the sponsoring, Seven.One ADFACTORY produced a tag-on (spot supplement) in-house for the existing "Finish Quantum Ultimate" spot with channel personality Matthias Killing as a testimonial, which drew attention to the topic in a very personal way and invited people to participate on various social media platforms using the hashtag #FinishSpartWater (Finish saves water). The campaign also includes a competition on social networks where Finish gave the author of the winning post the chance to decide in which German region they should plant 10,000 trees; in doing so Finish made an active contribution to our future. The produced content was distributed as TV advertorial as well as in split positions.
Picture Credit: Karl Werner