Written by Rolf Andersson | Sweden
on September 29, 2012

So your own company is environmentally and socially responsible? Great. And you want that to reflect on your brand and your bottom line? Good for you.

But, I’m sorry, unless you succeed in turning the benefits of sustainability into major reasons-to-buy, this potential ”blue ocean factor” is bound to remain on the sidelines of corporate business decision-making. Just in case you missed it: The term blue ocean refers to The Blue Ocean Strategy, the business strategy book published way back in 2005.

Is your company's blue ocean factor actually green?

It’s all about creating new demand in an uncontested market space, rather than competing head-to-head with other suppliers with the same sales arguments to capture the same customers. And strangely enough, in most industries sustainability is still such an uncontested market space.

Yes, the sustainability issues have been around for ages. Yes, books have been written about RoS or return-on-sustainability. And, yes, most industries have had their fair share of more or less successful PR efforts (or outright greenwashing). But relatively few marketing executives have made sustainability their primary strategic asset or their main sales argument. It is there alright, but typically as a hygiene factor – in the marketplace factors such as quality, design, price, total life cycle costs or timely delivery nearly always come first.

Why? Because they have most likely learned the hard way that these other factors are more important to them, more likely to help them close the deal. Everybody is of course sympathetic to the idea of saving the planet, and if you treat mankind or the environment too bad it may well ruin your chances all together. But it will rarely close the deal. Unless…

In the Marketing department the customer is (or should be) King. So what about their marketing department, their sustainability ambitions and challenges . Do you know exactly what they are trying to achieve? What they would like to tell their customers about it? Have you offered them the right products, solutions or services to help them do just that?

Have you even talked to them about it?

We suggest that you start that conversation. In our next UP FOR GOOD blog, we’ll discuss how.

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