10 Aug Using social media to highlight your green credentials
Since environmental issues first gained widespread attention in the 1970s and 80s, when leaded petrol and chlorofluorocarbons in refrigerators were linked to the hole in the ozone layer, the choices people make have been more and more influenced by environmental and ethical choices. Although we have changed our language from the Greenhouse Effect to Global Warming to Climate Change, we’ve become much more aware of how our actions affect the planet.
Purchase pressure has made several multi-national businesses change their ways for good; McDonald’s abandoned damaging polystyrene packs for recyclable card a very long time ago, mainly due to public pressure and negative PR. So many brands want to be seen as environmentally friendly that many have taken the dubious (and frankly dangerous) tactic of ‘greenwashing’, pretending to be green when in reality, you’re not. Trying to bluff your green credentials to your customers carries significant reputational risk; being found out undermines trust in what you say and quickly turns into a PR nightmare.
Transparency is essential
Most young people now want their brands to have ‘purpose-driven’ advertising but as consumers are more switched on than ever, spotting a tacked-on green policy that only exists as a PR stunt is child’s play. Some brands also worry about being seen to be ‘virtue signalling’, which, put simply, is a passive-aggressive brag about how ethical you are just so you can put down your competitors.
Value driven marketing above all else
Is there a way for brands to make environmental choices, do good work and talk about it without running the risk of it backfiring? The answer could be quite simple; Live Your Values. Outdoor wear brand Patagonia recently said that you “can’t reverse into purpose”, essentially meaning that attaching principles after the fact doesn’t work. The head of natural beauty brand Faith in Nature also pointed out “[sustainability] informs everything that we do… we have a clear understanding of who we are and what we stand for”
One of the joys of social media is that it’s instant, personal and connects brands with consumers. The key to success on social media relies on authenticity; your posts, tone and content all need to accurately represent who you are as a business so that you build trust with your customers. If your customers feel that your social channels are genuine and honest, they become much closer to you.
If you have ethical policies that you truly believe in, then there’s no danger about speaking about them on social; they’re a part of your brand, your mission and your business model. And, in an ever-changing world talking about these policies, rather than hiding then under a bushel, can have a hugely positive brand impact.
If you want to weave green messages into your brand messages the right way, drop us a line!