Green branding, the right corporate communication to talk about sustainability

Elizabeth Smith

Have you ever wondered what green branding is? It is a term in very frequent use in recent years. In this article we will delve into its meaning and the tools that characterize it.

What is green branding?

Green branding refers to the set of tools and techniques deployed by companies, associations or startups to communicate their brand values in line with environmental protection, respecting the principles of environmental sustainability.

As indicated by the well-known French publicist Jaques Seguela, there are generally three components that connote a brand, in which green branding can also be included. Namely, its brand identity, brand image and brand reputation.

Brand identity

The brand identity component emphasizes the informational aspect of the brand by highlighting its significant characters such as the name, logo or payoff and the values behind the company. It is this part of the brand that enables the assessment of brand awareness, that is, the awareness that the public or users have of that particular company.

Brand image

With the concept of brand image, on the other hand, we refer to the functional, sensory and emotional component of the brand. What that brand communicates and conveys to its users.

Brand reputation

Finally, there is the brand reputation, which of all is the most volatile and difficult element to manage in communication. Trust is the element behind a good reputation because it ensures consumers and users loyalty in the long run.

Quite the opposite compared to the phenomenon of greenwashing. That is, those attempts implemented by some companies to convey messages of responsibility and respect for the environment for the sole purpose of enjoying the attention and benefits of public opinion.

When do we talk about a “green brand”?

Businesses with sustainability values have a few things in common:

  • First, a vision, a “mission”: this is the core of the strategy put into practice by green brands. Green companies set the values behind their strategy and their worldview from the very beginning;

  • Eco-friendly packaging: this feature applies to those selling tangible products. Coatings and product packaging must also reflect the characteristics of environmental sustainability;

  • No emissions: processes for making goods or services must promote “zero waste” thinking;

  • Testimonials: these are important elements in an influencer marketing strategy. The choice of these figures, in this case that they are “green influencers,” serves to reinforce and orient the user toward the brand image that the company wants to communicate;

  • Ad hoc designed advertising: green companies have the task of recalling with words, images and sounds the universe of sustainability in compliance with their mission.

What communication strategy to adopt to convey green values?

Telling stories and experiences always arouses great emotions in the listener. This ability, to succeed in “enchanting,” today takes the name of storytelling. Storytelling is in fact the ability of a company to be able, through stories, to share and explain to its customers or users the values of sustainability.

There are four ways to formulate an environmentally friendly business value proposition:

  • Describe its story by talking about the brand’s origins and how it feels to embody sustainability values;

  • Curate its brand identity: be almost like a “brand-person,” so identifiable in color and appearance;

  • Show your Unique Selling Proposition: what is it that makes you unique from the mass of similar products?

  • Aim for visual content: images have a very strong power from the point of view of emotions. A brand that communicates its values well with a strong and effective image on social will easily stick in the minds of those who see it.

Read also: The 5 principles of the green economy to apply for a sustainable future

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