In many ways, sustainability has emerged as the primary watchword among entrepreneurs in the last decade. This is primarily due to the changing attitude of consumers, who have become increasingly concerned by the plight of the natural environment and developed a far greater understanding of prominent social issues. As a result, they are often willing to pay more for sustainable services and products across multiple industries.
More specifically, 55% of all respondents across a global survey stated that they were willing to pay extra for products that could demonstrate a positive social and environmental impact. While it may be relatively easy for product-orientated businesses to use sustainable materials and provide visual evidence of their commitment to tackling environmental or social issues, however, brands that deliver a service to their customers may find this decidedly more difficult.
Can Service Driven Businesses Grow through Sustainability Measures and Social Enterprise?
When it comes to implementing sustainability measures, driving positive social change and helping community projects to succeed, the main question is whether or not this adds tangible value to your service-orientated business? Let’s consider the following ideas and examples: -
Focus on Reducing Carbon Emissions without Compromising on the Quality of Service
In terms of sustainability, service-driven firms must look to focus primarily on reducing their carbon emissions. So long as this can be done without compromising on the quality or efficiency of service, it has the potential to add value to your business and create a consumer friendly proposition. Take the example set by businesses in the public transport sector, for example, where many service providers and local authorities are now investing in vehicles that reduce emissions and deliver great fuel efficiency while also maintaining power. The recent launch of the Peugeot E7 in the taxi industry embodies this practice, as it offers comfort, style and efficiency in equal measure and has already been rolled out by Trafford Borough Council.
This is a template that service driven businesses of all sizes and scope should consider, as they consider utilising sustainable methods and products that do not have an adverse effect on efficiency or quality.
Identify Prevalent Social Issues and Contribute Bold but Practical Solutions
When it comes to driving positive social change, the key is to identify prevalent issues that resonate with consumers before being bold when creating potential solutions. This ensures that your creative thinking and hard work translates into tangible business results, in addition to creating a better and more productive society. One of the best examples of this was provided by the Finnish government, which conceived an innovative and courageous solution to revive ailing health and welfare services. More specifically, it legalized portions of online gaming and established the Slot Machine Association in 1983, with a view to monetizing the sector and using the funds to promote social and financial inclusion throughout all social clashes. Although the idea generated some initial controversy, its positive impact quickly altered perceptions and created a situation where the end justified the means.
While this may have been implemented by a public body, it underlines the universal importance of identifying relevant issues before implementing bold and innovative solutions. This is something for service providers to bear in mind, as targeting a relevant cause or social issue will create greater opportunities for them to contribute and add value.
Use Multimedia Advertising to Educate rather than Market your Service
On the subject of creative and strategic thinking, now may be the ideal time to revise your most prominent marketing techniques. There are two reasons for this, with the primary example being the decline of traditional television and radio advertising. Statistics suggest that YouTube is now more popular than some national television channels, for example, with 50% more people searching and watching online this year than in 2013. In addition to this, the rising influence of content marketing dictates that consumers are more likely to be inspired by engaging and informative interaction with brands rather than promotional or service-centric advertising. So by using audio-visual material as a way of discussing social issues that are relevant to your service, for example, you can effectively capture the imagination of viewers and market your business in an organic and positive way.
Service driven businesses can therefore improve their standing in their market simply by using multimedia platforms to discuss prevalent social issues that relate directly to their service. For creative service providers, there is even an opportunity to visually document examples where they have actively helped in resolving these issues, whether this is through local community projects or nationwide events.
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