redwood-trunkIs your marketing and advertising sustainable? In many minds, sustainability has come to mean “environmentally conscious,” “eco-friendly” and other euphemisms associated with greening our planet.

I don’t mean just “green.” By sustainable, I’m talking about life or death.

When we ask if your marketing is sustainable, we’re asking if it gives you an unfair advantage in the marketplace, while bolstering your triple bottom line of people, planet and profit?

There are many antagonists to creating a sustainable strategy. These include realistic marketing investment levels, available personnel resources, management commitment, and sound brand positioning. Perhaps, the most important of all: Have you created a sustainable marketing campaign that is bigger than yourself, your shareholders, and your organization?

It’s no longer enough to simply measure your business success by how much money you make. With progressive companies, ROI has expanded to mean much more.

Thriving companies are paying attention to the social, cultural, and, of course, economic impacts they are having on the communities they serve.

Clorox, the longtime maker of bleach, has launched all-natural Green Works cleaning products that has both the EPA and Sierra Club endorsements.  Wal-Mart is flexing its retailing muscle to demand more environmentally and culturally friendly products. Toms Shoes gives away a free pair of shoes to needy kids with every pair you buy. Ben and Jerry’s is legendary for building sustainability into the purchase of every pint of ice cream.

What difference are you and your company truly making in the world, and how is it reflected in your brand position?

Sustainable marketing is responsible marketing, and being “green” is but one root to stabilize and grow your brand.

Now the question: Is your brand a sapling or a Redwood? Either way, are you doing what it takes to sustain its growth?

Impact Magazine

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(The above article was written for the current edition of “Impact Magazine,” published by the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. Park Howell is president of Park&Co, a Phoenix-based full-service sustainable marketing firm that has given its clients an unfair advantage since 1995.)