Marketing Sustainable Products Without Turning People Off

Mitchel White
February 14, 2019

Sustainability doesn’t need to be boring but a search of #sustainablefashion on Instagram throws up some pretty crap content from sustainable brands.

There are two sustainable Instagram camps at the moment:

The original ethical warrior

This is where you’ll find posts of animals being treated badly and big brand images with big red crosses on their logos. Your original eco warrior is militant in their views and likes to make sure everyone knows what they are.

The inspirational Vegan Instagram

This is where you’ll find Influencer India posting a photo of her Vegan breakfast on a beach in the Maldives. She uses the same filter for all her posts and she appears to have the perfect sustainable life. Going too far down this route as a brand can alienate more traditional sustainable types.

People don’t want to be lectured vs the need for a call to action

If you want to make a positive change to people’s behaviour and buying habits you need to persuade them, not lecture them.

When marketing sustainable products, too many brands are using shock tactics or wishy washy reasons to switch to them from less ethical brands.

Sustainable product positioning can be tricky; you want to appeal to people who are already living sustainably but to achieve volume you need to attract them at the start of their sustainable buying journey.

How? Framing is important. Frame your message positively. Why is this product good? How does buying your product benefit the buyer, the environment and other people? Instead of posting photos of dead cows, focus on more inspirational, accessible framing.

Although you’re wanting to make a positive impact with your business, without customers you’re not going to last long. You need to find a balance between selling and bringing about positive change.

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Marketing sustainable products with stories

Sustainable brands are built on stories.

People buy into stories.

Your story should take centre stage everywhere. That means your website, your PR and your social media bios. You should be telling everyone your unique story. Why did you set up your business? How did you get started?

Share behind the scenes posts on your blog and social media to help people buy into your story – take them with you on your sustainable startup journey.

Traditional brands have been less than transparent in the past – the new sustainable business movement is great because you can do the opposite. You could show people where your products are being made or how you’re setting up product shoots.

As a sustainable brand you have nothing to be scared about when sharing your manufacturing, sourcing and marketing processes.

Create your own visual style

You wouldn’t shave a sheep for your clothing so don’t be one yourself.

Create your own style on Instagram. Yes you should keep up to date with content and image styling trends but make sure that when someone clicks onto your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter they know they’ve landed on your account.

So many brands look just like their competitors, if you removed the profile photo you wouldn’t have a clue who the content belonged to.

Don’t be a clone of other people in your space.

Collaborate with others

With so many new sustainable brands entering the ecommerce space, it’s easy to see other brands as competition.

But they’re far from it.

Sustainable brands need to work together to make marketing campaigns more effective. By pooling marketing resources and sharing audiences brands can benefit in lots of ways – including increased brand awareness, following and sales.

Creating a partnerships strategy makes you more strategic with your approach to collaboration. Think about who it would be good to partner with and work with them on giveaways, co branded marketing campaigns and social media takeovers.


Sustainable means different things to different people but if you’re going to sell your product or service you need to frame your message in a way that is accessible to your target customers.

Too militant and you’re likely to turn people off.

Too wishy washy and people will continue to buy non ethical.

Striking the balance and crafting your own unique story and style is essential to bringing about positive change in your business and to marketing your sustainable products successfully.

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