In a time of economic downturn, marketing high-end products seems almost tone deaf. Certainly, there is a market for designer labels, five-star holidays and six-figure jewellery, but are the general public changing their tune?
Rewind to the 90s, and advertising executives around the world were telling their consumers to think “bigger”. They wanted their customers to think outside of the national box and go global, buying from internationally renowned brands.
This was underpinned by the swift move toward digital, or the ‘dot com boom’ as it was affectionately known. Without geographical barriers to market, brands could grow on a world scale at breakneck speed – and they wanted their customers to grow with them.
The rise of the influencer
Fast forward another 15 years and we saw quantum leaps in advertising methods. By 2006, bloggers were being paid to promote products, and by 2010, social media was taking centre stage. Stars like the entire Kardashian clan were being paid to promote luxury fashion, wearable tech, weight loss goods and more.
Such promotion could earn these influencers an eye-watering $500,000 per post. And in many cases, the posts didn’t always attract the right attention. The 2017 Fyre Festival debacle was a damning indictment on the use of influencers to promote less than ethical products.
A new focus
With a new generation comes a new focus, and one Generation Z who has continued to take the headlines is Greta Thunberg. Born in 2003, Greta became a poster girl for socially conscious young people, and has spearheaded multiple campaigns around the world to stop climate change.
As we’re well aware, a consumerist culture is the number one catalyst in global warming. Fast fashion, air travel and single-use plastic are all damaging by-products of this lifestyle.
With Greta at the helm, today’s consumers are turning their back on the culture of ‘new’, and instead, focusing on sustainability and the circular economy.
Waking up and smelling the coffee
Progressive movements such as banning needless plastic are just the beginning. Heartening new marketing trends tell us:
- The US sustainability market is set to reach $150 billion by 2021
- Fifty per cent of consumer packaged-goods comes from sustainability-marketed products
- More than 9,000 companies have joined the UN Global Compact initiative.
This isn’t just to address the issues affecting the planet. It’s a profitable move for targeting the next generation, 94 per cent of whom think that companies should address sustainability.
Can we do both?
If you’re offering a luxury product, don’t panic. Myriad advancements in sustainable packaging, website design and transport are impacting the way in which these companies run.
What’s important is not to ‘greenwash’.
“Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.”
To continue catering for these ethically conscious consumers, it’s important to practise what we preach. You could consider:
- Switching to sustainable suppliers, for example, using FSC approved print materials
- Using sustainable website design
- Encouraging customers to ‘upcycle’ with incentives – for example, H&M offers discounts for those who recycle unwanted clothes.
Struggling with green branding?
At Tall Zebra Designs, we understand that an entire brand overhaul doesn’t happen overnight. Speak to our branding experts in Bolton and Chorley for guidance on values, messaging and marketing channels. Luxury doesn’t have to be harmful – but we can all make better choices.
We are a specialist website design and digital marketing agency with two locations in Bolton and Chorley. We offer a complete package of services to become your in-house marketing support function to help drive sales growth and improve your online presence today.
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