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Published August 30th 2022

Tried and Tested Ways Brands Can Improve Sustainability Initiatives

Unsure how to navigate the ESG conversation online? Here are some proven ways to improve brand sentiment.

There have been over 7 million online mentions about sustainability since the start of the year. For context, that’s equal to a mention for every single person living in Bulgaria – an impressive number by any standards.

With climate change conversations peaking, and more consumers concerned about their carbon footprint, sustainability is something all businesses need to consider.

Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) is among the top mentioned subtopics within the sustainability conversation. Patrons increasingly want to understand how businesses implement sustainability tactics, especially as the conversation around climate change grows.

We looked into how brands can navigate the ESG conversation online to benefit their customers, implement green initiatives, and improve their brand sentiment.

Use sustainability advocates

Sustainability ambassadors are an excellent way for brands to showcase their green initiatives. From making TikTok videos about your practices to raising awareness through word-of-mouth, advocates are sure to improve brand sentiment.

Grove Collaborative is a great example of a brand receiving positive publicity for their ambassador initiative. Grove, who sell ethical cleaning products, recently appointed actress Drew Barrymore as their first-ever global sustainability advocate. This was well received online, with many consumers excited to see such positive steps from the company.

Ambassadors don’t need to be celebs either. Micro-influencers — usually defined as influencers with up to 10,000 followers—can receive impressive engagement numbers, especially when using multiple influencers at once. Brands might benefit from a marketing campaign searching for brand ambassadors among the micro-influencer community.

Equally, ambassadors don’t need to be human. Foodpanda, an online food and grocery delivery company operating across Asia, recently implemented a mascot for their sustainability initiatives. This pink panda, called Pau-Pau, was welcomed on social media, with the hashtag #HereComesPauPau receiving hundreds of uses.

Utilizing advocates for your brand is an excellent vehicle for improving awareness about your sustainability initiatives. Whether these ambassadors are celebrities or fictional mascots, this is a proven method for driving positive sentiment in online conversations.

Set sustainability targets

Something every company can do is set sustainability targets. By setting clear goals on how your business plans to improve, your customers can understand the values driving your brand. A good example of this is Club Mahindra. On an announcement of their commitment to sustainability and incorporation of new green practices, they received high engagement on social.

Joining local and global green initiatives, such as the RE100, proves to customers that you’re committed to sustainability. Many companies, such as Acer Philippines and T-Mobile, are shouting about their green initiatives, putting them at the forefront of many consumers’ minds.

Tackle water pollution

Water pollution is a rising topic in the sustainability conversation. When looking deeper into online emotions around water pollution, 45% of emotion-categorized mentioned showed disgust. From concerns about animal welfare to complaints about side-effects on residents, these disgusted mentions can indicate how brands might benefit from listening to consumer conversations.

Last year, washing detergent company Tide launched an impressive #TurnToCold marketing campaign. Working with celebrities, including Steve Austin and Ice-T, the initiative aimed to encourage consumers to wash their clothes on cold washes – to encourage less water and energy consumption. The campaign even won Gold at the 2022 Cannes Lions Awards for their sustainability goals.

The #TurnToCold campaign saw thousands of engagements, with customers hoping to win prizes. As a result, Tide saw an impressive increase in positive brand sentiment.

Utilizing strategies to encourage less water consumption and pollution is a great way to show commitment to sustainability. Whether it’s through a dedicated marketing campaign or implementing better business practices, customers are likely to encourage these green initiatives.

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