For too long, most industries, including marketing, have relied on a traditional model where products are made, used, and disposed of to the detriment of our environment. In a circular economy, the materials of products will be kept within a closed loop, requiring waste and pollution to be designed out of them. 

While this will be an enormous challenge to many traditional business and marketing models, a tremendous opportunity is available to those who embrace it and adapt.

What is a Circular Economy? 

A circular economy favors activities that preserve energy, labor, and material value. Products are designed with durability, reuse, re-manufacturing, and recycling in mind to keep products, components, and materials circulating within the economy. 

There are three core principles to circular economics, as stated by Radicle Balance.

  • First, there is designing out waste and pollution, such as a product’s packaging and other aspects. 
  • Second, you want to keep products and materials in use, which involves bio-based products and materials that positively impact the environment. 
  • Lastly, there is regenerating natural systems, which involves protecting and improving the environment and returning resources to the soil to support regeneration. 

These are fundamental principles for companies to consider as time goes on. The ones leading the way will likely be regarded as innovators and have an advantage within the playing field. As more companies adopt circular economy policies, it will be essential to have metrics for their performance since it could turn into a motivating force to drive faster adoption of a circular economy. 

But what does this have to do with marketing and branding, and what sort of impact could it have on the industry? Let’s find out.

How Could Circular Economics Impact Marketing & Branding? 

A circular economy will change how consumers interact with packaging and branding from businesses they purchase from.

Consider how traditional marketing and branding have worked regarding products. The flashier the colors and the descriptions, the more attention-grabbing they tend to be. In an economy that focuses on sustainability and reusability, these traditional modes of branding will have to be revised and reconsidered.

Take body wash or shampoo. Traditionally, the packaging it comes in distinguishes it from other brands of that product. In a circular economy, reusable bottles would be used in a collection and delivery system to refill them when they are low. This will increase the importance of durability and product interchangeability over unique brand packaging.

How To Address Circular Economy In Marketing Efforts

So, what can a brand do to address this? There are a few different ways to adapt to these changes in marketing campaigns: 

  • Bottles or other aspects of a product will need to become long-lasting objects of desire, something that could become iconic, like the glass bottles of  Coca-Cola. 
  • Branding and marketing campaigns will also want to place more emphasis on quality over flashy, eye-catching campaigns. Products will be differentiated by their attention to craftsmanship and sustainability. 
  • New marketing campaigns could also offer free sticker packages with the brand’s logo or a name that could be used to decorate a bottle or place it over a competitor’s name. 
  • Additional new marketing and branding opportunities could arise from using clean-energy refill trucks that roam the streets of towns and cities, covered in a company’s branding and advertising while offering refills of their products to customers and advertising and pushing new product offerings.

Collecting Data & Measuring the Impact 

A circular economy is excellent, but what does it matter if you don’t have the data to show your impact? Companies with a triple-bottom-line purpose must adopt these practices and utilize metrics to gauge their performance levels and show how they positively impact the planet with their current sustainable practices.

Sharing your yearly impact is also crucial to marketing circular economy companies. Transparently showing your business’s sustainable goals and what you’re doing to achieve them helps people understand the business’s mission and the actual impact they can have on others when choosing your product over the competition.

Digital solutions that facilitate technology, such as AI to go through the data, can be helpful for companies looking to innovate by becoming a part of the circular economy and adopting values of a triple-bottom-line business model. 

Understanding your data and your current efforts will help improve current operating business models and standard processes. The more companies in the circular economy work to collect and measure their performance, the more it will help enhance triple-bottom-line operations and encourage other companies to do so. Such metrics could provide motivation and facilitate a much broader and quicker adoption process. 

Key Takeaways

There is much to gain from the newly emerging circular economy regarding marketing and branding. 

Those adept enough to keep up with the changing times will be ahead of the curve. They will have an opportunity to create more sustainable products. Ultimately helping to raise both the prestige of the brand and protect the environment. 

In a circular economy, marketing campaigns need to emphasize the mission and impact behind the brand. They must also showcase the durability and quality of their products while showing differentiation through craftsmanship and sustainability rather than simply focusing on cost-effective, eye-catching packaging.

At Colibri, we believe in sustainability and supporting your brand’s needs. Extend your reach, and help us get you the best triple bottom line results possible. Get in touch with us, and we can start collaborating on your next project.