With 71% of consumers saying they prefer to buy from companies that align with their values, it’s time to start marketing your environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments.
With the increased discourse globally about the importance of climate change, the environment and the need for sustainable practices, a brand’s environmental activism is now an effective marketing strategy. With 81% of people saying they research a brand and product before purchasing it, customers are looking to the content and social channels of finance brands to see where their values lie before making a commitment. While ESG and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are generally pillars of a brand’s identity and investment strategy, here’s why they need to feature as part of your external-facing content and not just an internal commitment.
Financial content marketing is all about values
With greater pressure on people to use their purchasing power for social and environmental good, customers are expecting more from financial services brands. A recent report from Aflac found that 77% of consumers are more motivated to buy from a company that has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) pledge and 73% of investors would agree. Being environmentally conscious is not only vital for the longevity of the planet, but also for the success of a finance brand’s marketing future.
“ 77% of consumers are more motivated to buy from a company that has a Corporate Social Responsibility pledge ”
Sustainability is one political pressure point that most of the world recognises, with 68% of the globe seeing climate change as a major threat. 71% of UK banking customers agree they are more likely to choose a bank with a positive social and environmental impact and more than 60% would leave their bank if it was harming the environment. In Australia, more than 66% of Australians don’t want their money to cause harm to the planet and 86% expect their savings and super will be invested responsibly and ethically. The USA isn’t far behind, with 6 American banks out of the 43 banking providers committed to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance.
ESG commitments – they don’t just benefit the planet
Many finance brands across the UK, Australia and America have successfully integrated their sustainability efforts with their financial content marketing. Whilst it’s great for any finance brand to begin to create an ESG commitment, it’s important to understand how to market it for better customer success. Economic services business Deloitte have extensively researched this area and have concluded that “Companies that fail to embed sustainability in their corporate communications to create a strategic, investor-relevant narrative are missing an opportunity”.
If we take a look at Bank of Australia, they have seamlessly transitioned their marketing strategy to encompass their sustainability efforts and ESG pledge. Their website design is centered on their environmental and social values, with the tagline “The bank with clean money”. By intertwining their business with their sustainable practices, it entices customers and creates a clear distinction between them and the four major Australian banks.
Across the world in the UK, the financial services company EY is also making sustainability and social values a part of their financial marketing strategy. Through blog posts, advertising campaigns and a podcast centered on their sustainable commitments, EY have aligned themselves with the sustainability movement. With informative content that educates business leaders on the importance of sustainability and how to implement it, EY is able to capture the attention of new clients and maintain the support of current ones, offering advice on how sustainability future-proofs businesses and strengthens companies competitiveness. EY are at the forefront of environmental financial content marketing, and are seeing success with it too, with 84% of their clients being a part of the Fortune Global 500 list and 73% of the Forbes Global 2000 list.
In America, many financial services businesses are taking the lead and starting to incorporate sustainable practices and their ESG commitments into their marketing. Bank of America has increased its environmental initiative through its commitment to carbon neutrality and 100% renewable energy. With 49% of Americans believing that it’s important that companies are committed to making the world a better place, Bank of America is simply responding to the growing demand for environmental and social responsibility.
Get on the hype or be left behind
Gen Z and Millennials are altering how they want their finance brands to operate. With the advent of the internet, Gen Z and Millennials are putting greater efforts into researching what exactly companies are aligned with. 41% of Millennial and Gen Z investors put time and effort into understanding a company’s role in bettering the environment and planet, compared to only 27% of Gen X and 16% of Boomers doing so. To get their support, marketing your ESG commitments is a great place to start.
If you want your financial marketing content to remain relevant and strong in today’s world, your environmental and social values need to come to the fore. With the newer generations expecting more from finance brands, it’s time to reconsider your stance on social and environmental activism.