Taglines like “greener than ever” and a sustainability page where flowers gently wave in the wind. Of course they mean well, the companies that sincerely try to show their sustainable efforts. However, sustainability is about more than adding a green colour pallet to your PowerPoint presentation. It’s really more of a mindset, a value. Simply put, it’s in your DNA.
These 5 simple steps help you build a thought-out strategy on sustainability communication:
1. Stay true to your brand
Renewable energy, climate change, diversity and well-being… There’s much to talk about when it comes to sustainability. But it’s not because you can talk about it, that you should. Your reader will quickly lose sight of what’s important. Your intentions are good, but try to keep close to the core of your brand.
- What are the most important societal values for your company?
- Which KPIs make your sustainable efforts tangible?
- What innovations differentiate you and make a difference for your client and your industry?
In other words: stick to your brand. Focus on topics that are most relevant and impactful to you. At least then, you’ll always know what you’re talking about.
2. Stay honest
Sustainability communication adds to the credibility of your brand and builds customer loyalty. It’s therefore important to remain transparent about your “green” initiatives, but also to come clean about stuff you’re still struggling with. Most of your clients don’t expect miracles to happen, they just want to see specific actions being taken. “But how?” do our clients ask us. Well, here’s how:
- Publish a sustainability report with clear and tangible KPIs about your actions and milestones.
- Communicate internally. Your employees are walking billboards for your company values. Make sure they’re on board!
- Improve your product. There’s no better way to prove your progress to clients than to keep looking for more sustainable solutions in your actual product offerings.
Remember, putting on a green mask will not create value in the long run. Authenticity will.
We’ve already talked about that, remember?
3. Stay positive
You’ve seen enough of it already: the planet is dying and experts fear the worst. This might be true, but for many of your clients these facts still remain very far out-there.
So we can continue writing about the problems and culprits, or we could shine a light on the pioneers that provide us with solutions.
You might recognize them if they answer the following questions:
- Which ecological or social challenges do you already tackle today?
- How do your innovations offer sustainable improvements for your clients?
- How do you make a small or large, but mostly visible impact on society?
You don’t create engagement by pointing fingers, you do it by reaching out with a helping hand. Now make sure your customers grab it tightly.
4. Stay relevant
Stating the obvious: sustainability is a necessary topic. But how do you make that relevant to your customer?
Find the right balance between commercial and sustainable arguments. Speak the language of your audience and start with showing how your solution is convenient and profitable in the long term. Then, introduce the ecological and social benefits as an added value to your product or service. Clients would rather discover how much costs they spare, instead of how much waste. 😉
Let’s be honest, if you buy a new sweater, it’s mainly because you look great and comfy wearing it. If it turns out to be made of recycled cotton, it’s a great extra benefit. Checkout please!
5. Stay open for dialogue
In this windmill-and-clover-packed landscape, customers fail to separate the wheat from the chaff. As a result, they face several communication barriers, for example:
- They are not fully or properly informed.
- They are unaware of your brand and/or the solutions you offer.
- They stick to habits and prejudices. We’re all human in the end.
Try finding ways to enter dialogue with your customer. Ask your stakeholders where they think you can do better. Take these comments to heart and get to work. For example, you could include your clients’ feedback in your sustainability report or use it to define new business goals.
Listening to your target audience? Always a good idea.
Our conclusion? Sustainability is no longer a black and white story. Feel free to talk in all kinds of colours. However, final advice: green has been used enough already 😉
Still looking for a colourful communication agency that builds kick-ass B2B campaigns? Drop by in our Mechelen or Gent office for an honest chat, BBC is just around the corner, literally.