How marketers can influence environmental change

The upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow is set to be the most important environmental gathering of world leaders to date. This summit is significant as it is the first COP to take place after the landmark Paris Agreement. It will address what has and has not been achieved since 2015, and set out aims to ‘build back better’ through a green recovery plan of action following the pandemic.

The event has triggered a rush by organisations to act and state their sustainability credentials and intentions to garner attention and build public confidence around the brands consumers buy into.

This leaves advertising and marketing professionals with a vital task in communicating the green pledges and credentials of brands effecting meaningful change. 

While marketers may certainly not hold the social standing of Greta Thunberg and other high-profile green champions today, we are in a powerful position to influence change at scale harnessing brand power.

So, the big question is – what can marketers do to bring about environmental change?

Lead by example

By communicating examples of environmental innovation, marketing pros will not only help organisations radiate their values but will also keep consumers informed about what they are buying into. 

Marketers by their very nature are professional persuaders, intricate storytellers, and practised problem solvers. As such, we should be sharing stories of what brands and clients are doing well, spreading learnings like wildfire, fuelling ideas for greener business, and tipping the conversation surrounding climate change from fear to hope.

Not forgetting, brand experience – the totality of all sensations, feelings, thoughts and actions evoked by a brand – can be environmentalism!

Don’t bury efforts web pages deep!

If you’re doing something amazing to reduce carbon at your organisation, share your achievements and give your consumers a chance to champion your mission. We have worked with Changeworks Recycling who provide highly digestible and shareable carbon reports that help businesses remain accountable for their workplace recycling. 

You could use data such as this to make creative content about your environmental efforts turning it into engaging and accessible infographics for internal or client communications.

Externally, organisations can share examples of innovative practices via thought-leadership pieces, news articles, blogs, podcasts, speaking events and social media aimed at key audiences.

Getting the green word out 

At Represent, we communicate how our clients are making moves when it comes to sustainability and driving environmental change. 

Our client, St. Enoch Centre, one of Glasgow’s top destinations for retail, food & drink, and entertainment, was recognised for its exemplary work in rolling out a series of climate-friendly eco enhancements, receiving the prestigious International Green Apple Award 2021. The Centre’s working practices will soon be cited as ‘best practice’ on a global platform allowing other companies to follow their lead. 

Satiating a thirst for a refreshing new ‘pizza cider’ whilst minimising carbon emissions, leading drinks development business Babco UK recently partnered with pizza chain Franco Manca to create retail-first product No Logo Cider for its 55 UK branches. Two new varieties of Cider come in sleek 330ml aluminium cans – the most recyclable material today – and are produced sustainably in the UK using plastic-free and recyclable packaging. 

Craigies Farm’s PYO Pumpkin experience will see around 20,000 pumpkins picked by visitors this Autumn. Keen to minimise food waste in the process, Craigies will promote and publish a series of pumpkin recipes throughout the autumn period to help pumpkin-pickers minimise waste by carving and cooking the delicious orange flesh from all pumpkins picked, as well as providing tips on disposing of shells.

Setting the green agenda

Your climate efforts shouldn’t be a side piece – they should be integrated into your overall marketing strategy and form a part of holistic conversations about your brand. 

While our clients have taken steps to drive sustainability within their businesses and industries, there is always more work to be done and we play a role in ensuring that green initiatives are a standing agenda item in our marketing and planning meetings.  

Be consistent!

You can’t expect your consumers to change their behaviour in line with your brand goals if those goals and the corresponding messaging are constantly changing. Be consistent with your messaging and substantiate your marketing claims with data so that it will resonate at a higher level, ensuring consumers understand and ultimately buy into your brand and your environmental goals. 

Marketers love solving problems, and there’s no problem more vital that we solve than this one. We have access to powerful levers, and this is our moment to step up, pull them and influence environmental change! 

If you need help getting the green word out about your brand, contact the Represent team – we’d love to chat!

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