Almost half of all US consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce the size of their carbon footprint, reports the Harvard Business School Online, with sustainable product sales growing rapidly over the past decade. By the same token, consumer interest in authentic, honest reviews has led to the vertiginous rise of influencer marketing, with 49% of all consumers depending on influencer recommendations prior to making a purchase. Sustainability influencers are a group whose importance is rising steadily for both consumers and businesses. How are they promoting sustainability among companies in different industries?
Influencers As Catalysts For Change
Businesses are increasingly relying on sustainability influencers to emphasize their own commitment to environmental issues. However, because top influencers often operate within niches (which include raw vegan cooking, the zero waste movement, and green cleaning – to name just a few), they are also able to give businesses helpful advice that can help shape their sustainability strategy. Top influencers like Lauren Singer (famous for fitting a year’s worth of waste into a small mason jar) or Marie Kondo (famed for her Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo) often offer novel advice on aspects such as eco-friendly cleaning, efficiency and health. Their advice is invaluable to companies, who may decide not only to sponsor content, but also to partner with influencers to ensure that their own internal processes are greened up. Thus, companies working with Singer or Kondo can commit to the use of greener cleaning products and procedures that lessen their environmental impact, thus making their relationship with the influencer more meaningful.
Relying On Expert Knowledge for Influencer Marketing
When companies work with influencers or content creators on campaigns, they can devise new ways to use their products and/or services more sustainably. Italian brand Mulino Bianco, which produces baked goods, recently embraced a marketing strategy that showed how content creators are reusing and recycling their packaging. Many influencers are also relied upon on a consultancy basis, owing to their specialized knowledge in specific fields such as sustainable fashion, plant-based nutrition, or zero waste living. Many have experience and training that is invaluable for companies wishing to launch new product lines. These areas include project management, nutrition, fashion and business. Such is the power of social media influencers that today, business schools such as Condé Nast Italia’s Social Academy are offering postgraduate degrees in social media influence, training future content creators on everything from ethical standards to the importance of transparency. Specialized knowledge in this area can turn influencers into important allies and consultants for savvy companies wishing to connect with younger audiences.
Influencers are often first approached by businesses to simply present or review new products. However, companies that are truly committed to sustainability rely on influencers’ specialist knowledge to make changes in areas such as production, sourcing of materials, logistics and shipping, and packaging. Influencers can therefore not only encourage followers to lead greener lifestyles, but also inspire companies to make green living easier for those who consume their products and services.
Freelance contribution especially written for Find Your Influence by Karoline Gore.