Veronica has more than 20 years in senior management roles, leading marketing and sales strategies that include primary care consumables, pharmaceuticals, natural health care supplements, consumer and safety products within B2B and B2C.
How do you sell your sustainability story on social?
Do you ever get the feeling you’re having the same sustainability conversation on repeat with the same group of customers and suppliers? Someone can only truly know that your small business is prioritizing the environment and social good if you tell your sustainability story.
This article shares some suggestions on how to do just that.
But, to begin with we need to look at the data. In the US eight in ten consumers say they value sustainability. In fact, survey respondents said they would pay, on average, 35% more for eco-friendly brands. Plus, a third of consumers said they’d ditched a previously favoured brand in 2021 over sustainability concerns.
From a business to business perspective B2B buyers are also demanding sustainability. After all, partnering with manufacturers or service providers that support sustainable practices helps their efforts to do well too. All this highlights the importance of telling your business’s sustainability story.
That is all well and good but of course, the first critical step is to actually have a story to tell. There’s an opportunity to boost your brand in minimizing carbon emissions, demanding higher ethical standards from your suppliers, expanding diversity initiatives, achieving pay equity, or making other powerful changes. Try the following 6 approaches to get your sustainability story out there:
- Develop a strong narrative
- Dedicate part of your website to sustainability
- Consider producing a sustainability report
- Provide strong data
- Think broadly
- Communicate to employees too
Develop a Strong Narrative
- Be crystal clear about who your sustainability effort is helping. Brand storytelling is highly effective when there is a clear focal character/cause that the consumer can care about. Creating that visual face for your customer helps to create that all important emotional engagement. This is the key factor in what makes your story unique to you and above all resonate with your audience.
- You have already in place your businesses vision and mission so connect the story to that. It is important to make clear how the sustainability efforts you are making and supporting align with what the business believes in and how you are weaving that into your business every working day.
- Ensure that your brand voice is incorporated into your sustainability story. Remember, it is all about customers/suppliers recognizing your business and appreciating the small part that you are playing to helping the community.
Dedicate space on your website to share your sustainable goals
The main menu bar on your business website isn’t only a way for people to find what they are looking for but it also immediately identifies your priorities to site visitors. Putting sustainability on your site gives you a dedicated place to tell your story and updates on how you are achieving your sustainable goals.
There are various content elements available for you to share your sustainability page or section. Share stories, post videos and images and articulate your goals so that they are transparent. Think about adding in a Frequently Asked Questions section to answer common consumer queries.
Another facet is to engage with external influencers you may decide to:
- Work closely with non-profits that share your sustainability goals
- Send in applications for sustainability and social impact awards both at a regional and national level
Consider producing a Sustainability Report
A one-page report mapping out your objectives, highlighting the progress can help you demonstrate your commitment to business sustainability. This will allow you to build credibility with your consumers, suppliers and potential investors and stakeholders.
Remember go paperless! Which anecdotally is a small business sustainability best practice anyway. However, don’t just put up a PDF version on your website and think you are done. Make the information easily navigable. Use social media to share some of your findings.
Provide Strong Data
So, you have produced your report and told a story around it but ensure that the data your provide is robust and can be substantiated. With digital transformation it is easier than ever to access data.
Sustainability initiatives vary from business to business – remember that you can communicate around goals and progress, community involvement, philanthropy, diversity and employee wellbeing. Everyone, has a part to play so encourage others to take action too. Don’t underestimate the power of community involvement.
Communicate to Employees
Are you sharing your aspirational sustainability plan with your employees or when recruiting new staff. Some suggestions are:
- Incorporate sustainability goals into any onboarding of new staff
- Acknowledge staff who are achieving success or offering innovative ideas
If businesses in New Zealand are going to become truly sustainable not only will they need to change their systems, supplies and products but more importantly they will need to change the expectation and behaviour of their consumers.
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