The role of marketing and communication for a more sustainable world

As mentioned by Matthew Yeomans, lots of brands are conveying a message regarding their sustainability but it has been clear now that behind this magic word stands a lot of different definitions that the common layman doesn’t always understand the same way.

It’s true that companies are facing many challenges today. On one side, the market is changing with climate change constraints, resources availability and massive urbanization. On the other side we have consumers that are also evolving with the deployment of new social communication tools shifting the power from brands that controlled the information to customers that are now leveraging word of mouth through those networks. This is very positive because interaction with the final consumer has never been so easy. But on the other side, consumers also tend to over-react and supercharge any scandal that is happening.

Now that relationship between companies and final consumers has never been so important, it’s essential to realize how the role of marketing has become essential to recreate trust. This must be done focusing on authenticity, community and transparency. Even more importantly, going back to sharing a sense of purpose with your customer is the only way to create a lasting relationship.

So the question that one’s could ask is whether consumer really care about sustainability? According to Thomas Kolster yes! The problem is not that they don’t care about sustainability, but they’re fed up of advertising. They’re overloaded with information which is not offering them a real added value. This is why a real sense of purpose should again be included in the message to tell them not only that one product is better than the other, but that there is a real greater meaning in what the company behind is striving for.

It’s true that often sustainability is explained in a too complex way and there is a lot of room for improvement. One should focus on making the message clear. This is not about making things greener, but crystal clear for the end-user. In a world where the customer is overloaded with information, explaining the whole lifecycle of a product will lose the attention of the audience. The message has to be to the point, clear and well designed.

This is where sustainable should get to. There is a huge potential of growth in the sustainable market. We are the nerds that are not understood today … but beware, one day we’ll find the right way to express the power of our ideas and we’ll conquer the world and truly make it a better place to live!!

Grégoire de Hemptinne, SB Barcelona 2016 Volunteer, MBA Class of 2017, IESE Business School

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