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Sustainability will become an important competitive factor for companies
A large number of current developments mean that companies are increasingly being assigned responsibility for their actions. Companies should therefore be prepared for rising demands from consumers and changed conditions on the procurement markets at an early stage. If companies do not pursue sustainable branding, they can suffer legitimacy losses that lead to significant competitive disadvantages.
The importance of sustainable brand management is driven by a variety of different framework conditions. [Nbsp]
4 Major challenges for companies
Globalization: The current discussion about free trade agreements between Germany, the USA and Japan are examples of the future importance of the free exchange of goods. The world is getting smaller in the course of globalization. The result of international interdependence is a dramatic increase in the complexity of internal business processes, with value chains becoming increasingly confusing and high
number of interfaces makes it difficult to control a company.
Ecological developments: Climate change is a major issue of our time. To reduce the risks of global warming for humans and nature, a variety of measures must be taken. Environmental issues and future security of supply are becoming increasingly relevant to businesses in the context of a growing number of natural disasters. Businesses need to be aware of the impact they are having in view of growing environmental demands. These include i.a. issues of emissions and resource shortages. The aim is not only the gentle, but also the value-increasing use of raw materials. [Nbsp]
Political and legal developments: In addition to the direct effects of climate change, countermeasures by politicians have further consequences for companies. Stricter national and international regulations, legislation or regulations in the field of environmental protection have a significant impact on entrepreneurial activities. For example, changed political conditions greatly influence the environment and the scope for action of companies. The regulations documented by the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) or the Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) provide, for example, the regulatory framework.]
Socio-demographic developments: A significant development factor in the coming years will be the increasing population growth. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSCD) estimates that the world's population will increase by 30% over the next 40 years. According to estimates of the United Nations this will increase to over 9 billion people by 2050.
Sustainable brand management
Sustainable brand management thus becomes the systematic planning and coordination of all measures for the creation of ecological, economic, and social associations in the minds of the entrepreneurial stakeholders. [Nbsp] For sustainable brand management this results in the following essential points:
- The integration of sustainability in brand management starts with the company's self-image
- Sustainable brand management should be a top priority or must at least be lived and initiated by senior management.
- Sustainable brand management can not be designed by itself, but only in cooperation with
all employees and cooperation partners.
- Credibility is the key factor in sustainable brand management, so we should
act first and then communicate.
- Anchoring sustainability in the brand increases the complexity of brand management as the brand's reference extends beyond all levels of the hierarchy and the value chain.
Increasing transparency through new information and communication technologies
In the period of the internet and digital media, it has become much easier for stakeholders to minutely track corporate behavior. Information on company and product specifics are now available anywhere, anytime on the internet.
A dominant development, the companies and their sustainable brand management
is the increased change in the value of the consumers. This is characterized by increased environmental and social awareness. Issues such as the use of natural resources, fair raw material prices, fair pay, child labor and environmental protection are becoming more and more important factors. Nowadays, for example, environmental aspects are nowadays one of the most important problems for 35% of the consumers, just behind the concern for economic development (BMU 2012, pp. 18f.).
This is shown, inter alia. in the fact that 57% of German consumers are willing to spend more on energy-saving products (National Geographic / GlobeScan 2012). A high level of sensitivity also shows itself when it comes to issues such as the efficiency of transport routes or the sustainable conservation of resources (LPInternational 2013, p. 1f.). The increasing importance of these topics means that, in addition to a balanced price-performance ratio, customers are increasingly paying attention to social and ecological brand aspects (Commerzfinanz 2013).
The focus is on sustainable energy production
Many companies have been relying on sustainable products and a sustainable supply chain or energy production for some time now. Appropriate measures are deliberately emphasized, and marketing departments are intensively involved in sustainability communication.
The leading European retail chains are investing billions in modernization and new store construction. Especially the companies in the food industry achieved new buildings in passive house construction or particularly energy-efficient components. For this purpose, i.a. photovoltaic systems and other renewable energies set.
Solar power is visualized with innovative solar monitor.
As an effective means of sustainability communication, many leading food retailers rely on the installation of a so-called solar monitor or PV monitor. This solar monitor with dynamic information shows directly how much solar power is generated and what the contribution of the respective company or of sustainably produced energy is. The innovative solar monitors for photovoltaic systems inform visitors and customers about the generated solar power while providing further information about the company and its products.
Thus, this solar monitor is not only an attractive eye-catcher with valuable and credible information in sustainability communication, but at the same time an innovative bulletin board for various own contents and motives of the enterprise.
At the same time, the installed photovoltaic system will become a multiplier, people will be sensitized to the topic of solar power and the company will benefit from a modern and sustainable profile. [Nbsp]