Director insights: sustainability and your value proposition

In the fourth entry into our sustainability series, we sit down with Asgard MD, Geoff Undrell, to talk about the role sustainability should play in your value proposition.

  • 24th November

We’ve arrived at the final instalment of our ‘sustainability in marketing’ series. So far, we’ve explored top sustainability statistics to inform your sustainable marketing strategy, our top tips to get the green ball rolling, and most recently, our advice on evidencing your authenticity for the long term. This blog aims to bring all those learnings together for the purpose of strengthening your value proposition (VP).

Your VP is your company’s story and an accurate representation of your business capabilities. By including your sustainable achievements and goals in your VP, you’re showing what you aim to deliver to both your customers and society. It’s the perfect opportunity to create a better reputation with environmentally conscious customers and employees alike.

We sat down with our Managing Director, Geoff Undrell, to get his insights on the subject. Following a recent partner event where he led a series of sustainability round-tables with fellow commercial and marketing leaders from across the EMEA IT & technology channel, he had a lot to say about the value of a well-considered value proposition.

What was the event that you hosted a speaking session at earlier this year? Can you tell us some more about it?

I was invited to Cisco’s Marketing Velocity event in Spain to give insight into the importance of integrating sustainability into your marketing plan and to moderate a roundtable on the subject. It was great to not only share the experience of Asgard working with sustainably-minded technology companies, but also hear from Cisco partners.

What was the focus of your session?

I outlined how businesses can integrate sustainability into their value proposition and marketing plans. My aim was to have an open discussion with attendees; to hear their experiences of sustainability, how it was influencing their marketing and overall business strategy, and in particular how (if at all) it’s impacting their company value proposition.

How would you describe sustainable marketing?

It’s a customer-value marketing methodology. What that means in practical terms is promoting your business’s values, products, and service offerings in a way that emphasises what makes them environmentally friendly or socially considerate. Businesses should pursue sustainable marketing for a variety of reasons, whether that’s to remain competitive with their peers, evidence their social responsibility, or for strategic impact to improve profit margins.

Most importantly, sustainable marketing is more than just selling environmentally friendly products. Buyers are more informed than ever in this area, and any hint of disingenuity is sniffed out in seconds. We discuss this further in our greenwashing blog.

Remember that sustainability is an emotional driver, and businesses have a chance to gain a competitive advantage by offering both sustainability and value in their proposition.

When it comes to a sustainable VP, what do you believe was your key takeaway when talking to partners at the event?

I was surprised at the gulf in engagement with sustainability between partners. That being said, while some were light years ahead of others, it was clear that all were waking up to the reality of having to provide their sustainability credentials – particularly with imminent EU legislation (discussed in our recent sustainability statistics blog) which is set to impact their customers’ buying habits.

What makes for a sustainable VP? How do you match words to actions?

Put simply, you need a statement that shows how – as well as why – your business is being sustainable. With a standout sustainability claim, you have a USP that can set you apart from your competitors. It’s important that the value you’re promising to your clients is transparent and achievable, so you must be able to evidence your claims. If businesses can’t verify or prove their sustainability, customers are unlikely to trust or believe them. This is another theme we explored in our greenwashing blog. Ultimately, if there’s no trust, your sustainability VP becomes useless.

What’s a common mistake that people make when it comes to a sustainable VP?

All modern businesses should have sustainability as part of their objectives. But even companies that include sustainability can make common mistakes. It’s a topic we’ve explored at length in a recent blog. One of the biggest no-nos is treating your value proposition as a one-time event, as opposed to a long-term commitment which aligns with your current goals.

Another own goal is treating sustainability as a superficial PR exercise without truly considering the audience and what they care about. It all comes back to being able to evidence the authenticity in your value proposition and being transparent with your employees and customers – can you honestly action what’s in your value proposition? And are you always making moves to improve it? If you’ve answered no to either of those questions, you need to reassess your strategy.

Why is a VP so important for company culture, and how does sustainability impact this? 

Your value proposition is your company’s unifying message. It’s not only how you want to be seen by your customers, but also by your team. As more and more employees look to work for companies with sustainable initiatives, it can help you retain talent, increase productivity, boost morale, and help to attract talent – particularly when 49% of Gen Z and 94% of millennials say they’ve made career choices based on personal ethics. A value proposition that’s truly an accurate representation of your business capabilities is a surefire way to bring your team together through common achievements.

What do you recommend for businesses struggling to get their sustainable VP right?

I’d say there are five key pillars:

  1. Make sure what you want to achieve is achievable.
  2. Reflect your sustainability VP in everything you do.
  3. Bring employees along the road of sustainability.
  4. Actually implement what you’ve promised!
  5. Get in contact with the Asgard team.

Get started with a great sustainability VP

We offer value proposition design workshops to help you uncover and refine your business messaging, so if you need further advice on including sustainability in your value proposition, reach out to a member of the team today.

Have you read the other blogs in our sustainability series?

Emily Fellows is one of our Marketing Assistants. She's on board to help support all of our clients, and the wider team, to keep delivering top notch work.

Emily Fellows, Marketing Assistant, Asgard Marketing

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