6 Principles to Guide Your Conscious Marketing Campaign

November 23, 2014

You’ve seen the trend already: alternative energy cars, local farmer’s markets, fair trade coffee, etc. As consumers start to question what they buy and from where, brands are finding themselves called to market and advertise differently. No longer is it enough to have a great product, your brand story has to include a conscious component.

How are you reaching out to the conscious consumer?To be clear, conscious marketing is not just about your brand’s social responsibility or increasing philanthropic efforts (though we hope you’re engaging in both!). It’s also about showing that your brand and product have a higher purpose behind them.  More specifically, your brand’s values and purpose should be aligned with those of your customers.

Reaching The Socially Conscious Consumer

Not all consumers are socially conscious. But consumers are becoming increasingly socially conscious and these consumers are rapidly becoming a part of the mainstream. Fortunately, your brand doesn’t have to donate huge amounts to charity to partake in conscious marketing.

A recent Nielsen Report shows that conscious consumers around the globe tend to share the following characteristics (though this list is by no means all-inclusive).

  • 63% are under the age of 40 (i.e. Millenials)
  • 66% believe companies should support the environment
  • 46% are willing to pay more for products/services they view as socially responsible

More revealing is the fact that 63% of consumers trust company claims of social responsibility only part of the time.  For conscious marketing to be effective, you have to show, not tell, how you are fitting into your consumer’s lives in a conscious, socially responsible way.

Take a look at Chipotle. Remember their “Back to the Start” campaign from 2011? Their ad was followed by an additional video and game which saw a 98% approval rating from customers on social media. Ultimately, both videos kick-started the company’s commitment to “Food with Integrity,” a message that dominates the brand’s marketing to this day.

Consider also Pedigree. Built on the purpose of providing permanent homes for homeless dogs, the brand has a charity arm (the Pedigree Foundation) that integrates itself, and its mission, into the community by matching donations of its customers, providing grants and distributing food for Faceboook likes, and for donating a percentage of event ticket sales with partner organizations.

The Six Principles of Good Conscious Marketing

The most important aspect of conscious marketing is showing that your brand has a purpose beyond maximizing revenues. Here are six principles to follow for conscious marketing campaigns that can fit in to any budget.

  1. Be authentic. Authenticity is key when it comes to earning brand loyalty and trust. Say thank you, engage with your naysayers, admit mistakes, and above all else, actively communicate with your audience. Show you care, and show it often. To do conscious marketing you must be a conscious company, and being authentic is a big part of it.
  2. Market with clear purpose. Why does your company do what it does? What needs does it fulfill? If you don’t know why your product or service is necessary then it’s time to stop and consider just why you’re in the business that you’re in beyond making money. Remember, consumers are looking for a higher purpose in a brand. Give them one!
  3. Have purpose beyond the bottom line. Conscious marketing demands conscious behavior. Consumers aren’t interested in supporting companies that are only looking to turn a profit.
  4. Be mindful of who you affect. Be mindful of how your organization works, how it impacts all who come into contact with it – employees, the environment, the community, and also be conscious of how your brand can, and should, be making a difference in the world.
  5. Give back to the community. Giving isn’t marked by just monetary donations. Each organization can give back in their own way, whether sponsoring socially impactful events with products, having an employee retreat be about community service, or assisting in a fundraiser for a worthy cause.
  6. Show, not tell. Action will always get you further than words.  Make conscious marketing a permanent fixture of how you market and not simply an effort to conform to a fad (because it’s not going away).  Then promote your efforts, publicize your contribution and the impact you’re making

Remember, socially conscious consumers no longer rely on the advertiser’s word when it comes to what they’re selling. In fact, 95% of socially-conscious consumers trust personal recommendations above all else. So give your customers a reason to trust and become a fan of your brand, and they will certainly spread the word.

What kind of conscious marketing have you done?

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