Warning: don’t drop CSR marketingFebruary 2011
Too many businesses are ignoring the important role of marketing in communicating their corporate responsibility successes, says a UK white paper on the future of branding and sustainability.
The report, from The CarbonNeutral Company, outlines the role of marketing in promoting ethical products, and says the ability to ‘inspire’, convey reliable information and define brand character will be essential in making sustainable consumption mainstream.
It argues that the marketing industry has lost its foothold in CSR in recent times after being dogged by greenwash accusations, particularly in its work with high-polluting companies. The report says the marketing profession is partly to blame because of its short-termist outlook and its inability to act as a leader of consumers rather than a follower.
The CarbonNeutral Company says any marketing engagement has to be against a solid background of real achievement on the sustainability front. It argues that third-party certification, a sustainability strategy consistent with brand message and transparency are key to marketing green credentials.
Nicola McLaren, Unilever’s consumer and market insights manager and a contributor to the white paper, said: ‘Everyday household brands have a real opportunity to play a pivotal role in this new conversation with the consumer about sustainability, because they are so well established in consumers’ minds. We already have a dialogue with our consumers, we already have a relationship built on trust, and therefore our consumers will listen to us.’
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