Why your business needs conscious marketing
Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Marketing can have a bad rep and there is a reason for it. I remember when I graduated from my master's in Public Relations people kept saying "oh so you're going to make bad people look good now?"
Mmmh. Not exactly what gets me excited to wake up in the morning, no.
I was actually offended by that comment. But looking back, I get it. That's what we are fed every day.
Let's take a quick example that even generated a word for it.
GREENWASHING: "the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound."
Basically, to jump on the trend that consumers want more green and eco-friendly products and are willing to pay more for it, to make it look like the product being sold is all of that, to play with words, with colors to trick the customer's mind into believing it's good for them and the planet... all that without taking any positive action.
Conscious marketing is everything but that.
The first step is about being conscious that things need to change. The important step is to start acting on it and make a change.
No more "there is nothing I can do about it". "That's the only way to make money these days". Instead, it's about understanding the power that marketing has on our society and using it for a good. And this isn't just about being eco-friendly. Conscious marketing is about putting the customers and other people affected by the offer at the center and make sure it fulfills their needs (instead of creating new ones...) and has a positive impact.
As customers, we are lost in the flow of information, we are not sure what to believe anymore and we certainly don't trust that companies have our best interest in mind. Am I right?
I intentionally decided to be a conscious marketer because I couldn't see myself pushing aside my values to promote a product or a service I didn't trust, and to do it in a way that wasn't aligned with what I believe in.
Two things are important here for me:
I need to believe in the company I represent. That means I see the benefits of the product or service being offered and I realize the positive impact it can have on the community.
I don't go down the path of selling no matter what. The way I communicate about the product/service represents its values and positive impact. It respects the consumers instead of trying to trick them into buying more things they don't need. Marketing acts here as an educating and inspiring tool to support the community to make choices that are aligned and good for them.
How can conscious marketing help your business?
By engaging and working with entrepreneurs and businesses that go out of the mainstream line I realize that marketing and communication could help them reach different goals:
1. Help you feel more confident about your offer
The online world is a tough place with lots of criticisms and unfair judgments. Being eco-friendly, paying a fair salary, supporting local sources - it all has a lot of values but it also has a cost. Having to pay attention to all these details is important and it takes a lot more time and energy and sometimes money than going the "usual" way.
You can't compare and be compared to other big companies with big budgets, that's not fair to you. The problem is that customers are still used to comparing to mainstream productions. Let's say you produce a t-shirt locally with organic products, being compared to a mass-production factory on the other side of the world with low-quality fabric is not fair and it may make you want to give up.
This is where your marketing can help you. To really build your image, to communicate transparently, and vulnerably about what you are working on. To show how you deal with the challenges and show it as your strength. To invite people into your world so they can better understand and have new better expectations. More importantly, so they can give you the support that you need.
Your marketing is here also to make YOU feel proud about what you are doing. Because you sure should be!
Conscious marketing isn't about painting the perfect image but the real one.
2. Act as an educator
Chances are if you are a conscious business it also means that you are in some ways innovating and not doing the same thing as everybody else. That also means that you have to educate people about what you are doing. We have a lot of wrong ideas in our heads that need to be deconstructed. When you launch a new product, you also need to start educating the community about it. People don't have bad intentions, even when they are judging you. They just don't know any better. You get to educate them about it, to show them a new way of living. To empower them to take another direction that will influence their lives positively. They won't make the change before they truly understand how your product will help them. Your marketing is here to support that message.
3. Build a community
The good news is that the world is looking for you and people need you in their life. We are at a crossing point where we need to find new ways of living. Your marketing can help be the bridge between your solution and the people looking for it. You get to gather people and create that community that needs that positive energy in their life.
Own your business decisions, be proud of the product or service you are putting on the market and you'll see how communicating and promoting it will become much more enjoyable.
Are you doing your best but there are still areas of your business you are struggling with and aren't proud of yet? Are you afraid to mess up and be judged for it? Own it. Don't try to hide facts. That is the best way to grow as a company. Today's political and societal environment shows us we still have a lot to learn, every day.
You are currently working to make your packaging more sustainable but you are having a hard time finding the right supplier? Don't be afraid to talk about it. That will show not only that you are being transparent about it but also explain the challenges that you and the industry are facing, that might open up the dialogue for you to find other solutions, and that will show that you are actually caring.
It's about time we include customers in the making process as well. Not only will that help to produce products and services that will actually serve a real need and not a made-up one but it will also help customers better understand what is happening on your side of the business.
As a result, you will not only win customers but fans and supporters. They will want to see you succeed and buy every new product you release.
Does that mean you can't make a profit anymore or feel ashamed of it? Not at all. But your marketing's first purpose shouldn't be driven by making the most money possible. Instead, it should be about connecting with your customers and improving their life. And don't worry. As a result, this is what will make you successful and make money.
If you are proud of your business, communicating about it becomes fun!
Have a good branding and marketing strategy that incorporates your values and show its positive impact. Come chat with me! I'd love to hear what you are about!
Together, let's change that image that business has to be heartless and you have to be a shark in order to be successful. Let's put your impact at the center.
Visionary & Founder of Share Your Bright Side | firstname.lastname@example.org