Sustainability is the next frontier of marketing – Afere

By Felicia Nwosu

Akinola Afere, Director, Client Services at Kantar (Insights Division), has said that sustainability will be the next frontier of marketing. This is against the prevailing and deliberate quest for purpose-led marketing and the demand for alignment with social values which have become pivotal to successful customer journeys.

Afere stated this at the recently held ADVAN Dialogue 2024 with theme “Public/ Private Collaboration in the Marketing Industry: The Path to Economic Viability”, at Maryland, Lagos.

He explained that the case for sustainability goals has been made and that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nations have provided a framework to define the problems.

With statistical evidence, he pointed out how sustainability value contribution to brands is growing significantly, noting that brands whose ethos and philosophies revolve around the cardinal pillars of consumer values are positioned to have long-term sustainable growth. With this, he maintained that sustainability remains the most important driver of corporate reputation, contributing 45% annual growth to brands.

Afere also cited several impactful works done by concerned notable global bodies such as World Federation of Advertisers, Kantar and advertising agencies towards achieving sustainable goals.

“People’s worries are rooted in what impacts their daily lives. Consumers in Nigeria think that businesses should be most concerned about tackling issues in eight areas of the SDG framework. 68% consumers say it is businesses’ responsibility to solve environmental issues. 73% consumers say their increased cost of living prevents them from being mindful of the planet and environment. 35%. marketers say profit is a challenge preventing sustainable transition. Sustainability and value are key.”

The data savvy marketing expert noted that todays’ consumers are demanding for a new model of corporate interventions from brands and then urged marketers to thrive in the new era of sustainable marketing by integrating sustainability into the core of marketing strategies, to effectively communicate their values, amplify their impact, and drive meaningful change in the new age of conscious consumerism.

“And it’s time for marketing to step up. It’s our responsibility. We have the right skills. Marketing has a role to play. A one-of-a-kind Global initiative and benchmark dataset has been developed. It outlines a new role for marketing. This requires a shift in the role of marketing from marketing’s scope centred in purchase and use, within a linear value chain, to marketing’s scope beyond purchase and use, in line with circular principles,” he said.

Looking at the various research outcomes done previously, Afere emphasized the need for genuine commitment from brands, especially in the infusion of sustainability as a core principle to help redefine marketing.

“It’s time for marketing and marketers to stand up! The better we tell our stories, the more value our businesses can derive from its sustainability initiatives. When purchasing a product, 91% of consumers consider the social and environmental causes brands support, 91% when making purchase decisions and 82% of marketers globally say brands need to be braver in communicating their sustainability efforts.”


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