Today’s world feels less certain, less predictable and less linear. We continue to wrestle with a capitalist model in crisis and find political means to better reflect social justice across our society. Recent years have also intensified our awareness of humankind’s impact on the natural world from extreme weather events, declining natural resources, and the impact of waste on our environment. We face some big challenges as events and patterns we once took for granted take unpredictable paths.
Resilience and the ability to manage the challenges that impact us and our environment are therefore becoming more important to business and society. Creating resilience often means having to adapt – business goals, markets, channels – as well as an organisation’s holistic brand proposition. The role of business has a critical part to play in helping to solve the challenges we face through providing solutions and services that support society. Forward-thinking C-suite leaders should be looking to adopt conscious capitalism.
CIM members can view the The Role of Marketing in the Circular Economy webinar here
How marketing can lead in building a strategy for adaptation
Key elements such as trust, collaboration, and stakeholder orientation in day-to-day business practices should now be embedded as core values. As consumers increasingly demand that their brands reflect these objectives, companies that want to remain competitive will need to adapt by adopting the principles of the circular economy. Those organisations that don’t adapt the model run the risk of eroding trust and customer loyalty.
At its most basic, the circular economy recognises that resources are finite, replacing the current wasteful linear economic model of Take, make, dispose. Instead of organisations relying on finite resources, they conduct sustainable business and find renewable resources. They remove waste at every stage, from sourcing to recycling – creating a business model that restores and regenerates, rather than depletes and throws away. They look at how products are made, who makes them, and where, as well as how those same products are recycled or sustainably retired. In fact, adopting a circular economy model is wholly about the way we will do business in the future.
How to create Sustainable Circular Advantage
In his best-selling book ‘Competitive Advantage’, first published in the mid 1980s, Michael Porter wrote of creating and sustaining superior performance. In it he introduced a tool that may be used to diagnose and enhance competitive advantage: the value chain. The tool allows the manager to separate the underlying activities a firm performs in designing, producing, marketing, and distributing its product or service. It is these activities from which competitive advantage ultimately stems.
It is through the combination of Porter’s value chain and Accenture’s five circular business models that Sustainable Circular Advantage can be achieved. While Accenture accepts that there is no right answer for every company, identifying the right strategy, deploying the key enabling technologies and developing capabilities to adopt circular principles will help unlock a $4.5 trillion circular economy reward. The 7Ps Marketing Mix will then provide marketers with an ideal framework to review and define key issues that affect the marketing of its products and services in the circular age – and ultimately, move beyond simply meeting sustainability standards to a solution that transforms the current model of business and one that can create a sustainable circular advantage.
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