It’s a classic sustainability marketing conundrum. Your team has been recycling, reducing carbon and printing on both sides of the paper like green fiends, but how do you tell the story without sounding like you have a Hummer-sized corporate ego?
1. Praise your customers
This is how we handled it with London Drugs, and our recycling awareness campaign in Victoria. “Our customers have recycled over 90,000lbs of Styrofoam…” the StyroCycle billboard proudly states. “Thanks to you, we’ve kept 90,000lbs of Styrofoam from Landfills!” the radio ad declares. It’s true. The customers are the ones bringing back the packaging. And London Drugs sounds good thanking them.
2. Recognize your employees
The same strategy works when head office thanks the people in the trenches. After all, they are usually the ones doing the job. And depending on your target market, they may relate better to your front-line workers than your CEO. So thank them for their hard work and sustainability successes.
3. Thank the organizations who have influenced you
If your organization has been forced to change some of your practices due to pressure from NGO’s, activists or other groups, why not thank them? Shoemaker Timberland came close, when they acknowleged Greenpeace’s efforts to encourage them improve traceability in their supply chain, regarding sources of leather that are deforesting the Amazon. But wouldn’t it disarm the critics if you actually thanked them for their influence? If you are going to change anyway, you might as well get the upper hand in the PR exchange.
4. Use a little humour.
Issues like waste, environment and recycling can sometimes seem too heavy to treat lightly. But we are all human. Sometimes a light introduction to the subject is all it takes to get folks to sit up and pay attention for a minute. Which is really all you can ask your communications to do. The rest is up to the reader.
These are just a few ways you can get your green successes out there without making your head look too big to fit through the boardroom door. Whatever you do, don’t stop improving and don’t shy away from spreading the news. It could be your best competitive advantage.
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