Top Tips when it comes to Sustainability PR
Google’s annual Year in Search report highlighted that ‘sustainability’ was searched at record highs worldwide throughout the last year, whilst the phrase ‘impact of climate change’ was also searched for in record volumes.
Far more than ever before, consumers are factoring in sustainability and environmental considerations into their purchasing decisions. To put this into context, 39% of consumers consider a brand using sustainability-sourced materials as the most important factor when choosing a brand to buy from.*
One industry where brands have had to rapidly reconsider their approach to sustainability and the impact their manufacturing processes have on the environment is the alcohol industry.
Recent figures from the global beer and cider market have revealed that 35% of all beer and cider launches in 2021 had ethical and/or environmental claims, which were spearheaded by claims regarding environmentally friendly packaging practices.
Clearly, there is a fast-growing appetite from consumers for businesses to highlight both their ethical and sustainability practices when it comes to the manufacturing of their products.
But like any industry, when a brand is praised for taking a stance, the market quickly becomes flooded with businesses and competitors looking to create a similar positive sentiment for themselves amongst consumers.
So, the question is, how can a sustainability PR strategy help brands communicate their environmental and ethical stances in the media and align themselves with their target audiences.
What’s your unique selling proposition?
Brands need to find their USPs and communicate them clearly. There is a lot of noise in the media around the topic of sustainability, which can mean it can be difficult for both the media and consumers to spot something that is genuinely unique and impact-focused.
Through working with an agency, brands can identify at the early stage of a sustainability PR campaign what the key messages are that you can share with the media and stakeholders. Brands can then utilise a variety of tactics ranging from thought leadership opportunities to securing product reviews in order to distribute these messages to key audiences.
Be mindful of greenwashing
As we’ve already touched upon, with sustainability angles never being too far from the news agenda, it can be difficult for businesses and brands alike to secure the impact and cut-through that they hope for when it comes to launching new policies and procedures. This could lead to brands overpromising in a bid to gain more traction for an initiative. Make sure your claims are backed up, if they’re not it could come back to bite you as consumers become more savvy and aware of greenwashing. Instead of ‘spinning’ what you’re currently doing, focus on what progress you are committing to in the future and what tangible steps you’ve put in place to improve.
Don’t be afraid to bring your story to life
Whilst traditional press office tactics will always have their place in a well-structured communications strategy, if you’re looking to move the needle and really push your key sustainability messages, brands should consider more ambitious activations and campaigns to help create a buzz and make noise. Some examples of this could include pop-ups, experiential events, digital campaigns, or even finding third-party advocates through either influencer and ambassador work.
We live in a world where consumers are continuously moving from one channel to the next. If you’re planning on activating a sustainability PR campaign to generate a buzz about your key messages, you need to consider how you’re going to deliver those messages across both social media and digital platforms as well as via traditional PR.
The average person spends over two hours and 24 minutes a day on social media, it’s where your customers are, and where you need to be. Being able to utilise channels such as TikTok, Instagram or LinkedIn and serve your key demographics with captivating compelling content is only going to help brand affinity between you and target audience.
Staying on top of the news agenda
It’s important to ensure you stay on top of emerging conversations, trends and cultural phenomena to ensure your brand continues to stand out. Sustainability is a big, ongoing topic of interest across all areas of the media and so things can change quickly.
Being able to respond quickly to breaking news stories with comments and quotes that add value to stories enables brands and spokespeople to position themselves as key commentators in the media, this can be a highly effective tactic to secure top-tier press coverage.
Brands should also consider using data and insights to help uncover what your key audiences want to see from your organisation to help inform ongoing and future ESG strategies.
If you would like to discuss how a Sustainability PR campaign could help to highlight your company’s sustainability and ethical claims in the coming months, get in touch today.
*GWI Zeitgeist 2021 (Waves conducted during Q4 2021). March 2022 Environmental Impact: Brands