Re-thinking Sustainable Brand and Marketing Development

10 Jun 2024
Consumers are shifting towards more sustainable products, but companies that do not apply evidence-based marketing principles to their products may find their money going down the drain. “Ninety percent of startups fail, especially between years two through five, while a staggering 70 percent of all businesses fail,” said Rob Hall, Strategic Marketing & Sustainable Brand Consultant and Founder of Brands4Human and Growth Asia, at Sasin Research Seminar. Hall has over 25 years of experience in marketing, sales & communication roles, working with regional & global brands in Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore & Bangkok, like Suntory, Unilever, and Nestlé. According to Hall, many startups mistakenly focus solely on selling their product, experiencing initial strong growth but failing to sustain long-term success. He remarked that success lies not in selling a product but in understanding the dynamics of pre-existing demand. Hall added that ninety-five percent of potential customers are typically not actively seeking to purchase a product. The challenge lies in how to make the brand part of their consideration set, where the Banana Principle comes into play: a significant portion of a product’s growth opportunity resides in appealing to non-buyers. Studies have demonstrated that 62 percent of growth originates from penetrating new market segments. He added that startups are not spending enough time to market their products. Some reasons for failure include high operational costs, limited marketing expression, and failure to understand consumer buying behavior. “While initially, the cost of acquiring customers may be low due to existing demand, as this pool diminishes, acquisition costs rise, leading to a plateau in sales over time,” he said. Products focused on sustainability must understand these principles because consumers buy more than the product’s sustainability. He defined sustainable brands as brands that balance the customer expectation for quality, convenience, and value-priced products or services- with an outcome that is equally good for the individual and the community in which one lives and for the planet that everyone shares. “If you don’t understand evidence-based marketing, then you are probably spending a lot of money on things that don’t work,” said Hall. Three Pillars of Evidence-Based Marketing The Evidenced-Based Marketing Principles include Product Market Fit, Brand development, and Marketing Implementation Principles, which work for both sustainable native brands and sustainable transformer brands. The key pillar for achieving marketing success are:
  1. Three Pillars for ‘Go to Market Success: Successful mass-market brands need a great product, a strong brand, and effective marketing to succeed in any market. It does not matter whether they are a Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumers (B2C), a startup, or a mature business.
  2. To succeed moving forward, brands must apply The New Evidence-Based Marketing Principles: Sustainable Native Brands or Sustainable Transformer Brands need to embrace a better ‘Go to Market’ Framework- powered by evidence-based brand and marketing principles- that ensures every sustainable product today has the best opportunity for mass market success.
  3. Your Sustainability Isn’t the ONLY Factor Driving Growth: Sustainable Native Brands needs to create products with mass market appeal and develop a brand for long-term growth while implementing effective two-speed marketing to convert existing demand and grow future demand. SWELL application, which positions itself as a sustainability investment app, failed despite focusing on sustainability, indicating that being sustainable alone isn’t enough. UNLIMEAT capitalizes on the rising demand for plant-based Korean cuisine, offering flavors that resonate with mainstream and Asian palates while delivering value-driven and delicious options. On the other hand, Great Wrap provides an innovative solution with its plant-based plastic made from tomatoes, which is compostable and serves as a viable alternative to traditional plastic. With a focus on B2B partnerships and the growing need for eco-friendly packaging, Great Wrap stands out as a promising venture set to soar in the market.
  4. Most Brands Have a Sustainable Transformation Challenge: They need to create great new products, extend their brand proposition, and deliver effective marketing to maintain growth in evolving existing categories or aim to become leading competitive options in brand-new categories. Transformer Brands understand consumer needs and prioritize sustainability in their operations. They adapt to changing market demands and invest in innovation to stay ahead.
Share this article
You might be interested in...
Contact Us