Your good deeds WILL be rewarded

Ever heard this one:

“Yes, I agree, it’s important that we tell our sustainability story … but how’s it going to help us sell more product?”

Usually followed by something like:

“Show me the ROI and, sure, we can fund your sustainability marketing initiatives.”

We’ve heard them all (and we happen to agree with them – you SHOULD be able to leverage your sustainability story to sell more product/gain more share), and we’ve helped several of our clients make the case for funding. Here are some data points from our just-released Eco Pulse study that can help you make the case, too:

  • Roughly half the population consider a company’s environmental reputation as they make product choices.
  • In fact, roughly a third of the population determines if a product is green based on the company’s environmental reputation.  This is an emerging trend – just two years ago only 23% used a company’s eco-reputation as a litmus test for a product’s green-ness.  Increasingly, Americans are having a hard time believing a product is green if they don’t believe the company is green.
  • Today, half the American population can actually name a product that they’ve chosen or dropped as a result of learning more about a company’s environmental record. (That’s up from only 20% in 2008.)
  • Millennials – the largest demographic group outside of Boomers – are even more likely to consider a company’s environmental record before making a purchase. In fact, they are twice as likely to have chosen a product based on the manufacturer’s or supplier’s environmental record or practices.
  • From a CSR perspective, 30% of Americans consider a company’s nonprofit partnerships and donations when deciding whether or not to buy a product. Only 6%, however, regularly choose products or retailers based on those partnerships and donations. The activities that have the greatest impact on purchase decision are local activities. We’ve heard consumers say, “If it’s local, I can see it and it benefits me and my community.”

So, the next time you’re in the position of having to justify your CSR and sustainability marketing efforts, feel free to use any or all of these data points. (And you can buy the study to get a lot more detail).  Bottom line:  you CAN leverage your sustainability efforts to gain a market advantage – the magic trick, though, is to define those efforts and communicate them in a way that aligns with what your market care-abouts.  Want to know how to do that?  Give us a call. 🙂

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insight

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Penny Kemp

VP Account Management & Strategy

Penny leads our client engagement process, overseeing activities from both a strategic and a tactical level to ensure our work generates desired results. She works closely with Suzanne, President & CEO, to develop strategic marketing plans and with Matt, VP Creative, to foster creative campaign ideas. Before joining Shelton Group, Penny had developed expertise in brand management and marketing while working with award-winning agencies and shepherding programs for the likes of Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Russell Athletic and James Hardie Building Products.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Glen L. Vesser III

VP Finance and Administration

Glen manages Shelton Group’s finances and administration, ensuring our internal systems run smoothly so we can provide exceptional client service in a seamless and timely manner. Glen’s financial and administrative expertise has been shaped by decades of experience in a variety of industries, including public accounting, media distribution and health care.

Mike Beamer

VP Business Development

Mike joined our team to help provide strategic vision and foster our agency’s growth by overseeing new business leads and managing agency marketing and website content. He arrived in Knoxville steeped in energy efficiency and renewables – he previously led client service for an agency division in Boston dedicated to marketing communications strategy and branding for B2B and B2C clients in that space.