Companies are now making corporate sustainability criteria an important part of their fundamental values.
The importance of such criteria is no longer solely about how a company is seen from an outside perspective, but how it manages its business, attracts stakeholders and investors, interacts with its customers or clients and communicates with its current and future employees.
As businesses work to weave sustainable actions into their everyday activities, how can communication strategies support these endeavors?
Your company has now taken steps to make sustainable commitments part of its business. In order to engage your customers, clients, investors and staff, it is important to communicate about your engagements.
However, with many companies and brands speaking about sustainability, it is important to get it right. Your communication strategy must communicate truthfully and clearly about your carbon-reducing initiatives and align with the values and actions of your company.
Defining how sustainability can be part of your communication roadmap is important, here we look at how.
Your communications strategy is based on reflecting your company. As such, slotting in a sustainable angle should mean demonstrating the values that you have and the work you have done.
Make sustainability part of your brand, not a separate entity, do this by working sustainability into your current design templates, icons, graphics and campaigns.
You can for example create a specific area for all your sustainability-related content and communications. With a Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform you can create a branded universe for your sustainability related communications and campaigns, setting the branding for teams across your entire organization.
From straight-forward examples to playing around with visual information instead of wordy documents, how you present your commitment to sustainability should be as simple as possible.
In order to avoid greenwashing, speak frankly about your engagements and illustrate your work with visual elements like graphics, infographics and video.
Simply put, your audience wants to quickly understand what steps you have taken to put sustainability in place and how it is part of your business, without having to spend a long time searching for the information.
Consumers are now more and more demanding about the type of brands and businesses they chose to interact with and buy from. They expect more from your business in terms of your green commitments and want to see proof of the actions that you’ve put in place. For example, 88% of
Establish a relationship with your consumers, clients and stakeholders that is built on trust by making sure you regularly communicate about your environmental commitments. Set objectives for how often you will talk about sustainability-related subjects and think about who you are addressing each time.
Gather research about sustainability trends and how your market is responding to them in order to know how to communicate with your audience.
You can even organise all this information within your DAM environment so that different teams can be aware of the roadmap you have set and the various milestones you want to achieve.
Sometimes the hardest part of developing a communication strategy can be collecting the necessary information from different teams in your organisation. Working with the sustainability or CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) team is a way to understand the carbon-reducing plans of your organisation and translating them into corporate communications. Establishing regular meetings and conversations is vital, all whilst sharing the information that will be publicly released.
Creating a defined workflow in a DAM environment is a way of bringing everyone together on a project in a way that lets each user see how a project is advancing and whether or not action needs to be taken. In this way, you can alert the CSR team to any changes to documents or when they need to check or approve certain elements. This way of working is inducive to collaboration and means all parties feel that they have a good overall vision of any given project.
When establishing your communications strategy it is important to consider the people you are targeting and what you want them to do with the information you are distributing. The same goes for when you talk about environmental commitments.
Who then are the important stakeholders to consider when creating a sustainable communication strategy?
Your communication strategy is not only destined for an external audience but also for an internal one. Informing your current employees about how your company is taking into account ESG criteria is vital for their understanding of the company they work for. This will allow them to understand the steps being made to prioritse sustainability and will mean that they themselves are informed enough to communication to clients, customers or other stakeholders.
employers how you attract talent is intrinsically linked to your ESG objectives.
Building your communication strategy around your employees is therefore an important axe to consider.
To help build a communications plan that takes into account current and future employees, it’s worth:
81% of global consumers feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment. This stat alone is reason enough for companies to integrate a more sustainable approach into their business. Whether it’s a logistics company who looks to find lower-emission ways of transporting goods or an e-commerce brand that works to reduce its packaging, companies can adopt multiple ways of diminishing their carbon footprint.
When establishing a communication strategy, you must work to understand who your customer is and what their priorities, needs and sticking points are. It will also help you understand how your customers want to be communicated with.
In order to best understand your customers, take the time to gather information on them.
This could be done by:
Investors are an important part of your business, and they are increasingly looking to ensure that ESG (Environmental Social Governance) factors are an intrinsic part of a company’s strategy. With new legislations and extra-financial performance factors being paramount to their strategies, they are cautious when it comes to investing in companies who are not able to prove their green credentials.
It is therefore important to look at what is happening outside of your organisation in order to understand the trends and legislations that can and will affect investors.
Talk to existing investors and finding out what their main priorities are and what they see as being future priorities is a clever way of understanding how to target them in your communications.
Understanding these factors will then help you communicate with different types of investors. Your communications with them will need to be as clear and transparent as possible, whilst remaining authentic and credible. This will enable them understand your business and gather the information they need to make informed decisions.
Taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint is vital given the current context but it is also important to communicate about your company’s work in this area.
Making sure your communication strategy incorporates an ESG angle is vital for informing your various stakeholders and ensuring that, from your customers to your staff, that people know about your commitment. This ensures people are invested in your brand, generating trust and loyalty and helping you to enhance your brand image.