In many instances, a good branding strategy will include a plan to spread your message, make your company well-known, and having the artwork, including a great logo, with which to present your company. Yet, branding can evolve into so much more than that; especially when you stand up for a cause that is well-respected and related to your industry or to your customers’ favorite personal causes.
Customers are becoming more in tune to company causes and corporate giving, and often change loyalties to certain brands based on their affiliation with green programs and initiatives. In a recent study, two thirds of Americans agreed that brands must be environmentally responsible. If you can position your brand as a leading supporter of a worthwhile initiative, you can really set yourself apart in the eyes of the consumer.
Climate Change – Choosing a Trending Topic
Once such worthwhile cause is climate change. Those rallying behind the movement that climate change is real speak out against the overuse of fossil fuels which increase earth’s levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The result is noticeable and harmful shifts in overall climate – temperature, air pressure, rainfall, humidity, etc. – that affect citizens on both a regional and global scale.
From Neil DeGrasse Tyson to Leonardo DiCaprio, this global issue brings out a number of influential and vocal adversaries. The effects of this condition are widespread, enough that local government are making legislative decisions to help curb its development. San Francisco, California is one such city that recently banned the sale of plastic water bottles on city/public property. While some say this is a “feel good” law because it has so many loopholes, it is still seen as a step in the right direction and promotes a greater awareness of a larger, looming problem. What’s more, it sparks community-wide interest that local businesses can piggyback off of in promotion of their own support and/or solutions. City and state initiatives like this can create big opportunities for smaller brands who can more nimbly swoop in and take advantage of the media attention.
Promoting Your Brand Through Education of the Cause
These times offer a great opportunity for your brand to offer educational material about and alternatives to banned or harmful items. While plastic bottles may not be outlawed where you’re from, other toxic items and activities that are likely present in your area include:
- Natural gas
- Plastic bags & pollution
- Paper bags & pollution
- Energy use in offices and at home
Speaking out and taking action against any number of these can help establish your business as a passionate and authority figure in the industry. Your goodwill will showcase your brand as one that cares about their impact on the planet; and those who take notice of your actions will likely draw a similar conclusions about the way that you care for your customers.
Opportunities for Education & Awareness Promotion
Consider getting a booth at an industry conference in a city that just passed a newsworthy initiative. This can be a great opportunity to offer support to the folks living there, while getting your name out to a previously untapped demographic. While in town, promote your business with reusable water bottles or other eco-friendly options for a creative way to help customers spread the message about the cause.
In addition to conferences and tradeshows, you can also use these media moments to educate your clients and customers about the initiatives back home. Use your social media, blog or website as a platform to discuss global warming and to promote a dialogue on the subject with your clients and customers. What’s more, there are undoubtedly organizations and groups in your area interested in educating the public about climate change or more specific activities contributing the issue. They are more than likely looking for corporate sponsors for charity events, marketing strategies, and other promotional efforts.
Attending or Hosting Events for Worthy Causes
Attending an event for this type of movement can be a way to publicize your company and its interests. Handing out free promotional products at an event of this nature can really bolster support and public opinion about your company not being afraid to stand up for a cause they believe in.
Another great way to show community support is having a day out of the office for employees to volunteer at a local park or environmental group site. Offer your colleagues free branded t-shirts to wear that day, and let a local news channel know what you’re doing. Use this as an opportunity to garner some local publicity to further your brand message and showcase your support within the community.
If unable to attend an event, you can also hold collections at your office for items to donate or recycle that those from the public are free to drop off. This could be anything from battery recycling to holding a drive for unused children’s clothing and toys to keep extra items from being put into landfills.
Commit to Your Goals and Public Stance
Remember to follow through on your eco-friendly persona by making sure each process of your “green” initiative actually is just that. If you hand out jute tote bags at an event, but stuff them with paper flyers or marketing collateral that aren’t at least made from recyclable paper, your motives may come into question. Select a cause that is important to your company’s mission, so you can continue to follow through in your support of it.
While PR mentions and a creative logo or celebrity-endorsed campaign can go a long way, know that consumers are beginning to look more closely at brands support of social and environmental causes. Having this kind of message attached to your company’s brand can be a huge boost for customer loyalty and brand strength in support of other marketing strategies.