The Time is Right for SDGs in Marketing
Most of us have seen the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) quilt that represent the U.N.’s goals on sustainability. Unfortunately, for the average employee or consumer this may not mean much more than some surface-level ideals. As such, this presents a big opportunity for marketers to come in and really drive awareness of the actual meaning and value behind following these guidelines and trying to achieve a more sustainable business.
One area that the SDGs can really transform is trust. This is becoming a defining element for many businesses as the world grapples with issues around global warming, economic inequality, and pollution. Trust has always been at the heart of why people buy a product or service, but in today’s world consumers want to know that the brands they use are not only safe, but are also working to make the world a better place. Storytelling is really at the heart of this and it's in the company’s best interest to get this communication right and assure the client. Marketing teams will need to focus on this dynamic more if they are to win in the marketplace. As it is, in B2B terms, companies are now often required to validate products/services in a sustainability context before they purchase.
Telling the right story is important, but so is the timing. A risk that many companies face going forward is how they position themselves in front of the public with SDGs. And there is a race to get this right. Smart marketing teams are creating a glidepath towards connecting with their consumers around sustainability. As we can see there have been winners and losers. The energy industry is a good example as some oil and gas producers have positioned themselves as going green with a transition to wind and solar. Others have fared not so well as they not only have to create an appealing story, but also defend criticism that has already surfaced.
As marketing grapples with integrating SDGs into their communication efforts, two points are key. The story that is being crafted and the speed that it reaches the pubic. Just like in the past summer Olympics in Tokyo, there will be both winners and losers.
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