Corporate sustainability is no longer just something that’s nice to have – consumer behavior, investor interest, and pressure from climate activists has made sustainability essential for companies looking to remain competitive. That said, it’s also essential for companies to market their sustainability efforts to stakeholders and the public. In our increasingly digital and social age, simply publishing a sustainability report is not going to cut it. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can best market your company’s sustainability efforts and initiatives to your desired audience(s).
First Things First: Assess Your Audience
Before you begin to market your company’s sustainability efforts on different channels, it is important to determine who, exactly, your audience is. If they are an older demographic, sharing your sustainability efforts on Facebook may be most effective. If the audience you want to reach is largely investors or other companies (if, for example, your company is B2B), then LinkedIn may be the best channel. If you want to market to the younger generations, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok may be ideal.
Decide on the Format of Your Marketing Efforts
Once you know your audience, you will need to choose how you are going to present your sustainability efforts and initiatives to them. Here are some options to consider:
- Videos or reels (short videos) – Video is one of the most engaging types of content on social media. Videos can include interviews with your company’s leadership, animated videos outlining your company’s accomplishments and efforts, or short “reels” on TikTok and Instagram that capitalize on the latest viral trends to get your points across.
- Stories (on Facebook and Instagram) – Stories are vertical photos or videos, up to 15 seconds, that disappear 24 hours after posting. Instead of being displayed in the feed, they’re displayed at the top of an active user’s app and can be viewed by tapping through. Many design platforms like Canva and Adobe Spark include templates for stories, so you can create custom slides to suit your needs.
- Info graphics – Info graphics can be shared on any social media platform, including Instagram and Facebook stories. They are a great way to get creative with different designs, fonts, colors, and graphics and can help your company share its sustainability accomplishments in a an easily accessible format.
- Press releases – While more old fashioned than some of the options listed above, press releases are still valuable, especially if your audience is an older, more professional demographic.
Keep These 5 Tips In Mind
Whatever format(s) you choose to market your company’s sustainability efforts, remember to:
- Keep things short and sweet. Keep the nitty gritty data and long explanations in your actual sustainability report(s). When marketing your efforts, it’s important to remember that people are being bombarded with information all day, every day, so you want to make this digestible for them. You can select the most illuminating, interesting data points to include in your marketing efforts (more on this next), but keep things light so that your audience doesn’t feel overwhelmed by dense numbers.
- Build trust through data. While overloading your audience with data is not ideal, the opposite extreme (having little to no data) should also be avoided. Try to land in a middle ground by including data that helps prove your sustainability efforts are genuine. This builds trust with your audience. Without data to back up your claims, you risk being accused of greenwashing, i.e., falsifying sustainability, and that’s never good for business or brand reputation. See below for guidance on what types of data to include in your marketing efforts, and how you can best acquire and present it.
- Include hashtags. Industry specific hashtags can help increase the reach of your social media posts and boost engagement and performance. Examples include #sustainability, #sustainablebusiness, #esg, and #climateaction, to name a few.
- Tell a story. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools that marketers have. Stories spark emotion and draw people in. Whether you’re making an infographic or video or even issuing a standard press release, make sure there’s a tangible story that your audience can follow along with.
- Add options for engagement. The beauty of today’s digital world is that it gives people so many opportunities to connect once the video is over or the Instagram story expires. Make sure to include a link to your sustainability report(s) so that your audience can dive deeper if they would like. You can also include call-to-action (CTA) buttons and links that allow your audience to visit your website, follow you on social media, or subscribe to your newsletter or mailing list.
A Note on Data
As we mentioned above, including data in your sustainability marketing is key to building trust with your audience and proving your sustainability initiatives are the real deal. So, what types of data should you include in your marketing efforts, and how can you acquire and present it?
Types of data to include:
When marketing your sustainability initiatives, you may want to include energy and sustainability data (e.g., energy use, waste, and emissions data) as well as data on such issues as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).
How to acquire the data you need:
Energy and sustainability data can be acquired either manually or automatically.
- Manual data collection involves acquiring data from your utility company or meters, and/or using various emissions and waste calculators. Manual data collection has its drawbacks, however: It is time-consuming, prone to errors, and lacks complexity and detail. In addition, manually collected data is not automatically audited – your company will have to audit its own data for comprehensiveness and accuracy.
- Automatic data collection, on the other hand, involves using an energy and sustainability management platform. The software collects and organizes your energy and sustainability data all in one place, analyzing it in the process. Such platforms can also accurately calculate waste and emissions data and will automatically audit it for completeness and quality.
DE&I data collection can also be done in-house or with the help of a platform. You can collect data from your employees using digital or paper questionaries, or you can outsource the process. As with energy and sustainability data collection, using a platform for DE&I data collection will likely provide you with auditing, analysis of data, and other features.
How to best present your data:
We recommend presenting your data in graphs. This makes complicated numbers easily digestible for your audiences. For example, let’s say you want to share how your company has reduced greenhouse gas emissions month on month over the past two years. Writing down each data point or sharing it in a table would likely lose the interest of your audience. Instead, put those data points into a creative and colorful graph.
How WatchWire Can Help You Market Your Company’s Sustainability Efforts
WatchWire is a market-leading, energy and sustainability data management platform that uses cloud-based software to collect, automize, analyze, and audit utility, energy, and sustainability data metrics. WatchWire offers a platform for the proper management of sustainability measurements and goals. Our sustainability module can track your sustainability goals/targets with respect to energy, water, carbon emissions, and waste diversion, and track their performance vs. the goal in question. This allows your company to easily report on and share how well its sustainability efforts are working.
In addition, WatchWire can organize your energy and sustainability data into easily digestible graphs. These graphs can then be exported in PNG format and used in PDF reports, marketing content/collateral, website sustainability sections, and more.
Connect With WatchWire
To learn more about WatchWire, you can visit our website, blog, or resource library, request a demo, or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter to keep up-to-date on the latest energy and sustainability insights, news, and resources.