Written by Georgin Paulose
May 15, 2019 • 5 min read
Historically, India’s natural heritage has pushed us to use eco-friendly products. We come from a culture that encourages the use of homegrown products and integrates activities like Yoga into our lifestyle. In this context, we are, to an extent, already aware of natural and green products that exist in the market.
So, it’s no surprise that brands like Colgate have introduced options with innate green/herbal attributes. Supermarkets, too, prompt you to pay an addition 5 or 10 rupees for a cloth bag while, instead of providing you with a cheaper, less eco-friendly alternative.
If you think about it, there are more such examples around us driven by law, ethics, values, or even the need to establish brand differentiation.
While there are many unknowns, one thing is clear: all this isn’t by mere chance, but done by design – based on the concept of ‘green marketing‘.
While marketing an eco-friendly product or service, it’s easy to assume that a potential buyer will view its “greenness” as a core benefit and base their buying decision on that. However, is this true? Think about it. Would you pay more for a pair of shoes solely because its material is eco-friendly?
Today, most of us are aware of the importance of sustainability. At the same time, we rarely act on that knowledge. So, the real question is: “How can green marketing, when rightly done, push buyers to consciously or sub-consciously buy greener products and avail greener services?”
A global Synovate survey conducted in 2007 in association with Aegis, repeated in 2008 in association with BBC World, observed that consumers in most countries are aware and willing to act on environmental concerns. Such individuals are receptive of green products if provided at comparable prices and features to conventional products.
Solar Energy and Green Marketing.
Solar is the most affordable and accessible source of renewable energy. While that’s true, for a solar energy company like Solarify, green marketing is a critical foundation. It helps us access the community and its people.
So, how do companies like Solarify do this?
Receiving more than 300 days of sunshine annually, India could become the next “superpower” in solar. If the majority is to be made aware of and take action on the potential of the rooftops at our houses, apartments, offices, factories, and educational institutions; a well thought out (green) marketing strategy needs to be in place.
According to a study by Peattie and Polonsky (2001), many consumers often (rightly) assume that green products are priced higher than conventional products. The catch, however, is that green marketed products make a unique impression on the consumers – which makes them opt for it despite their higher price.
Solar power systems need a steep initial investment which brings the consumer to a standstill at the time of decision-making. When well done, marketing can help dispell myths and encourage decision-makers to seek complete and reliable information.
How is green marketing done at Solarify?
At Solarify – a solar EPC company – we work towards differentiating our marketing efforts in a crowded market.
We approach the issue of green marketing in a humanistic manner. We attempt to creatively resolve the pain-points each of our “buyer personas” encounter in their daily lives.
What are “buyer personas”? They are imaginary descriptions of our model consumers:
They are primarily concerned with conserving nature, sustainable living, and climate change. They opt for eco-friendly products as they believe in reducing their carbon footprint.
For example, these customers are the ones who use electric vehicles or install solar panels. The price of the product wouldn’t matter to them as long as they get a good experience with a trustworthy company.
These consumers look to green products to cut down costs associated with conventional products. They find savings to be beneficial in the long run, despite higher initial investments.
For instance, they opt for solar panels to get direct savings or tax benefits.
The Proud Parent.
They choose green products as they feel it affects their status quo among peers. They neglect the savings or environmental aspects, and desire to promote themselves instead.
For example, property owners that chose to go solar solely for green building certifications.
How is all this information applied?
While research, data, theories, definitions, and personas are good to have (and understand), the only way to make a real impact is by “doing actionable marketing activities”.
Here’s what we do, in a broad sense:
Originality is King.
We dedicate time to create original content. Through this, we often address the pain-points of our buyer personas. In addition to being meaningful, we try to break the dullness that usually surrounds content in this industry.
Distribution is Queen.
Creation is just half the work done, with distribution being the other half. The right content distributed at the right time has the potential to be engaging to the majority.
Honesty is the Kingdom.
We are completely intolerant to unethical marketing practices such as plagiarism, non-licensing of original work, misinformation, and avoid the ubiquitous conditions apply *.
Sometimes, we go the extra mile to call out companies who do this frequently. Why? Because we care, and we believe consumers deserve honesty.
Networking for social good.
Using influencers in sustainability to improve our reach, cross-sharing relevant content from other platforms, and by crowdsourcing content; we have been able to nurture a small yet loyal following.
From attending relevant events to partnering with organisations, we believe in being stronger together.
The struggles of the solar industry.
Today, more than awareness or attraction, the biggest roadblock to growth is conversion (engagement). With sales conversions being as low as 2-3%, it adds to a hurdle in the scaling of businesses – which in turn is an indication of the rate of solar energy adoption.
Better green marketing has a significant role to play in improving those numbers.
In summary, green marketing is “all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchange (buying, selling, lending, borrowing) intended to satisfy human needs or wants, such that they occur with no or minimal detrimental impact on the environment.“
What lies ahead, and how can you help?
Design alone cannot change the world. It’s true, but great design puts things in motion.
We believe that the solar industry is in dire need of people who understand great design: illustrators, front-end web developers, UI/UX designers, graphic designers, cinematographers, photographers, and more.
Would you like to pioneer green marketing with us? Know more about the opportunity, here.