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Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the sustainability category.

A Monster of a Promotional Event

monstercycle

Annually, Monster Energy Drink sponsors the AMA motocross race tournaments and many professional riders. It is a strategy Monster has used for years to gain popularity with potential consumers and build brand loyalty, which has proven very successful.

Knowing and delivering what its target audience values, Monster sponsors the motocross pit along with the races that it sponsors. The pit is complete with rider meet-and-greets and brand booths set up with plenty of merchandise and free promotional premiums.

The best part about the Monster pit is that pit passes are free to any race-goes who bring an empty Monster can to “redeem” or recycle. Beaming fans eagerly spoke about the fun they experienced in the pit as they reported their experiences to an ESPN reporter during the 2013 X-Games.

As the X-Games is often referred to as the Super Bowl of extreme sports, Monster marketing execs knew that the coverage that the pit received during the event would reach millions of viewers and potential consumers.

As the green movement progresses, brands are trying to get in on the conversation, and Monster’s free pit pass in exchange for can redemption program exemplifies a successful attempt. Not only is Monster showing its commitment to environmental stewardship, it is also promoting sustainable behavioral change and providing its consumers with an experience that they will value at the same time.

The can redemption program also provided Monster with plenty of content for social media such as YouTube, as you can see in the video below.

Although the event was not primarily focused on recycling, it continues to be a success both sustainably and in marketing. Fans to get to experience acting sustainably with ease, the fun they have at the event and the ease of the action will hopefully remind them to recycle next time they drink a Monster energy drink.

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Seven Sustainable Things to Consider When Planning Your Event

Hosting an event is a wonderful way to honor or support stakeholders who are valuable to your business. Events bolster all ready loyal relationships and add value and loyalty to new relationships you want to develop.

An event is a great opportunity for a company to remind stakeholders of its sustainable initiatives. Events provide a plethora of opportunities to showcase how a company considers sustainability in its business practices.

  1. Every single part of the planning process can be seen through a sustainable lens.  Before finalizing decisions ask, “Can this be done more sustainably?” The answer may often be yes.
  2. Location. Location. Location. There are many ways to achieve sustainability in venue selection. The event could be held in a USGBC LEED Certified building or a building that has taken into consideration energy use and sourcing. Another way to think about a venue sustainably is to support a local venue or have the venue donated.
  3. Sustainable sourcing is a great way to green your event. If you’re serving food, goods or services or hosting musicians try to hire local and responsible businesses first. Also consider the business practices of companies that supply the sourced goods and whether their business goals align with your own.
  4. Waste not, want not. Consider waste management in every step of your planning.  Cut down on printing waste by sending e-invites and digitally displaying or having links to information during the event. Also be sure to include recycling receptacles and signage during the event. Try to purchase or reuse reusable items.
  5. Minimize resource use. Try to implement responsible resource use. Events are inherently heavy on the resource use. Be mindful of using natural light when possible, only using water when necessary and not using more energy than absolutely needed.
  6. Consider cultures and values of all guests. Try to know or learn the values of the various cultures that will be present at your event. Be mindful that in some cultures, colors and traditions may translate differently than in your own. If having food, integrating the various cultures that are present is a wonderful way to show respect for those cultures.
  7. Promotion. Don’t be ashamed to brag about all of the steps that you took to green your event. You also might consider getting it certified if you have the time to do so; certification can provide concrete proof of the sustainability of your event. The more people who talk about it, the easier it is to create a culture that values sustainability.

Greening your event gives it one more competitive advantage on top of all the value you will all ready be offering your attendees. Your attendees will remember the effort you put into greening your event and they will talk about it to their friends.


Positive Interaction

With so much focus on social media, many companies want to integrate social media into the marketing mix. Unfortunately, some of the companies participating in social media don’t truly understand the benefit of the two-way conversation that it can provide if used correctly.

Below is an example from the Patagonia Facebook page that highlights how the benefits of social media can help a company spread the word of its greatness. The conversation started with Patagonia posting pictures from and event they held in store during the Austin, Texas SXSW show. The event supported a locally owned restaurant and hosted local musicians; very sustainable.

pattweet

One of the most obvious ways to spark a conversation on social media is to ask a question of your viewers. It should be relevant enough to prompt an answer from them. However, be mindful of asking questions that might spark debate amongst your target audience. A healthy debate is usually beneficial, but your company’s Facebook page may not be the best place for it.

Brands that speak about their sustainable actions openly may ask questions such as

  • We do “X” to save 100 million gallons of water in clothing production annually, How do you do your part to conserve water?
  • What is your favorite way to re-use an item that otherwise would have been sent to the landfill?
  • What actions do you take that make you the most proud? We are really proud to say that …”

People enjoy the chance to brag about their lives on social media, it sometimes seems to be the main reason for usage. Supplying a chance to brag is an excellent way to encourage social media conversation.

Another way to encourage conversation is to share empowering, positive or educational things that you find helpful. More than likely your audience will appreciate what you have shared. A post such as this could look like:

                This short video clip always reminds me that there are smart and inspired people everywhere.  YouTube.xlyh4jg.com  What is your take away from it?

The most important thing to remember when posting content to social media is that people will appreciate messages which contain value, and will be annoyed by meaningless fluff. If a person on Facebook likes your brand, then your content will often show up in their feed. A company should keep that in mind and remember if they post invaluable, meaningless stuff; it is a surefire way to be “UNFRIENDED”…Gasp.


Two Brands that talk and walk sustainability and are criticized for it.

Last week I talked about how fear of green wash labeling can deter brands from talking about their sustainability initiatives. This week I will highlight two brands that brave the nay-Sayers and talk about their good doing.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola doesn’t just talk the talk; it has integrated sustainable practices into its business practices at multiple levels. To begin, Coke has minimized its use of PET plastic by 23% and has focused on striving for a closed loop supply chain, meaning they reuse plastic bottles when sourcing plastic for the new bottles.

Coke has also proudly talked about its efforts and encourages its consumers to recycle. This both contributes to Coke’s mission of closed loop supply chain and to society’s need to more properly manage trash. Coke has footprints at events, such as NASCAR, state fairs and other major events.

Even though Coke’s efforts are notable, there are still people that say it is greenwashing. In 2007 Coke was named as the Polaris Institute’s first Corporate Greenwashing Award recipient. Also people say that because parts of Cokes operations are not sustainable that they are greenwashing.

In my opinion, Coke is not exaggerating what they are trying to do and are making an effort to integrate sustainability where possible and are thus not greenwashing. At least it is attempting to tackle its overuse of resources, Coke should talk about it, because every little bit counts and it is contributing to a more conscious consumer.

Tom’s Shoes

Tom’s is responsible for the one:one business model. For every pair of shoes consumers buy, Tom’s donates a pair of shoes to someone in need. After the success of its shoes, Tom’s introduces glasses into its product offering, so now consumers can purchase eyeglasses and the matched funds will either provide glasses or eye care for someone in need.

Tom’s, like coke, pridefully discusses its business model and the benefits of purchasing Tom’s shoes over another brand of shoe. Tom’s has won multiple awards including placing sixth on FastCompany’s list of Top Ten Most Innovative Retail Companies and in 2009 Tom’s was named People’s Design Award recipient for its innovative business model.

Even Tom’s has its critics as EcoSalon typifies in its article about the good and the bad of Tom’s shoes. EcoSalon is not alone in criticizing Tom’s efforts, if one Googles Tom’s and greenwashing there are a number of bloggers articulating their displeasure with Tom’s efforts.

There will always be people hoping for brands to fail and attempting to be whistle blowers for sustainability. In using a proactive sustainable messaging plan that focuses on initiatives with real impact and integrates messages about sustainable business practices, brands will produce messages that encourage conscious consumers to look into the brand and find out for themselves.

 


Don’t Just Talk Green, Walk Green

While doing research for this blog, I recently came across the Sustainable Brands conference, which I hope to attend sometime. The Sustainable Brands conference allows people from various industries to meet and share their ideas about sustainable brand messaging and living up to the messaging.

A theme seemed to be that truly understanding sustainability allows organizations to implement sustainable initiatives internally and externally in the company. These initiatives show the company’s commitment to sustainability rather than just talking about it. Raphael Bemporad, principle at BBMG, led one of the sessions of the 2012 conference. I found the video of the presentation on YouYube, and it was such an insightful presentation that I wanted to share.

In the presentation, Bemporad discusses disrupt and delight, where he outlines five principles of sustainable brand innovation and communication which I have briefly outlined below:

  • Start with what’s sacred; a community that holds the same things as sacred will work together better.

i.            Chipotle and its responsible food sourcing practices

  • Design holistically; the good of the element is the good of the whole.

i.            Levi’s and its Water<Less denim design

  • Create collaboratively; consumers and employees can act as co-creators.

i.            Unilever’s Needs and Wants online, notifies consumers of research and development issues that need solutions

  • Play breeds creativity; it allows us to see our work with fresh eyes.

i.            “People who play video games actively are more creative…” Michigan State University study

  • How to connect and spread delight; being more creative and delightful with your consumers will encourage change in them.

i.            Warby Parker Eyeglasses; social enterprise to sell product 1:1 business model

These principles remind companies to integrate sustainability into every level of business. This total integration makes talking about the sustainable initiatives much easier for employees, because people better retain information through actual practice rather than memorization.

When it comes to sustainable messaging the time old saying, “Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk,” holds true. If a company wants to join in the sustainability conversation, it should consider business from the ground up, and decide if it can be doing anything smarter, cleaner, more inclusively and more intuitively.

Sustainability is a lifestyle; its integration into a company’s environment will encourage behavioral change within its employees.After this has been done, the sustainable messaging will coalesce organically and a company will have a new story which will warrant sharing.


Sustainable messaging should tell a story of your brand and the benefits the consumer stands to gain by choosing it over another.

In searching through the many companies that successfully highlight its sustainability initiatives, I found Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. As a long time fan, I was pleased to find that the value I gained as a consumer went beyond the bold and often delicious flavor combinations.

 Shel Horowitz, green/ethical marketing expert and author of Guerilla Marketing Goes Green, said B&J’s is one of the two companies that occupy up to 85% of the premium ice cream market, and is so largely because of their ability to consistently integrate their message, market and marketing.

Not only does B&J operate as cleanly as possible, it explains how and what that cleanliness equates to in clear and concise messaging. However, as I have said before, sustainability is comprised of economic, social and environmental approaches— B&J’s  considers all three components when incorporating sustainable actions into its business practices and conveying those actions through messaging.

MisSiON

B&J’s mission statement has three-parts: a social aspect, to recognize that business plays a role in society and should build it up; a product aspect, an all natural ice cream made by Earth and environment respecting business practices and a economic aspect, to sustainably grow, increase value for stakeholders and expand opportunities for its employees.

EcOnOmiC Efforts

The B&J website consists of three economic platforms:

  • The Occupy Movement states B&J’s support of the Occupy Wall St. movement and articulates what it believes to be the important issues raised by the movement.
  • The Get the Dough Out campaign states B&J’s stance on corporate corruption in politics and includes a call to action that allows consumers to get involved.
  • Tthe B&J Foundation, which has operated since 1985, grants $1.8 million annually to causes decided on by non-management employees.

SoCiAL Efforts

Along with B&J’s commitment to fair trade, its work with Greyson Bakery (a company leading in social consciousness) and its work with local farms and businesses, B&J’s has three main social programs:

  • Partnershops are stores that are independently owned by nonprofit organizations for which B&J’s waives the franchise fees to allow for community growth.
  • B&J’s is committed to providing employees a Livable Wage and recalculate that wage annually. In 2012 the wage was %15.97, and has been up to two times the current minimum wage.
  • The Community Action program creates a culture of caring within the company by providing an opportunity for employees to participate in large-scale community service projects.

The completeness of Ben and Jerry’s sustainability efforts is complimented by its ability to talk openly and with pride about them. The company’s website delivers messages in an engaging and concise manner, the packaging and design boldly states its ideals, and the social media plan is well executed (a topic I will undoubtedly cover later this month, so heads up).


Ben & Jerry’s is so FAIR!

Sustainable messaging should tell a story of your brand and the benefits the consumer stands to gain by choosing it over another.

In searching through the many companies that successfully highlight its sustainability initiatives, I found Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. As a long time fan, I was pleased to find that the value I gained as a consumer went beyond the bold and often delicious flavor combinations.

 Shel Horowitz, green/ethical marketing expert and author of Guerilla Marketing Goes Green, said B&J’s is one of the two companies that occupy up to 85% of the premium ice cream market, and is so largely because of their ability to consistently integrate their message, market and marketing.

Not only does B&J operate as cleanly as possible, it explains how and what that cleanliness equates to in clear and concise messaging. However, as I have said before, sustainability is comprised of economic, social and environmental approaches— B&J’s  considers all three components when incorporating sustainable actions into its business practices and conveying those actions through messaging.

MisSiON

B&J’s mission statement has three-parts: a social aspect, to recognize that business plays a role in society and should build it up; a product aspect, an all natural ice cream made by Earth and environment respecting business practices and a economic aspect, to sustainably grow, increase value for stakeholders and expand opportunities for its employees.

EcOnOmiC Efforts

The B&J website consists of three economic platforms:

  • The Occupy Movement states B&J’s support of the Occupy Wall St. movement and articulates what it believes to be the important issues raised by the movement.
  • The Get the Dough Out campaign states B&J’s stance on corporate corruption in politics and includes a call to action that allows consumers to get involved.
  • Tthe B&J Foundation, which has operated since 1985, grants $1.8 million annually to causes decided on by non-management employees.

SoCiAL Efforts

Along with B&J’s commitment to fair trade, its work with Greyston Bakery (a company leading in social consciousness) and its work with local farms and businesses, B&J’s has three main social programs:

  • Partnershops are stores that are independently owned by nonprofit organizations for which B&J’s waives the franchise fees to allow for community growth.
  • B&J’s is committed to providing employees a Livable Wage and recalculate that wage annually. In 2012 the wage was %15.97, and has been up to two times the current minimum wage.
  • The Community Action program creates a culture of caring within the company by providing an opportunity for employees to participate in large-scale community service projects.

The completeness of Ben and Jerry’s sustainability efforts is complimented by its ability to talk openly and with pride about them. The company’s website delivers messages in an engaging and concise manner, the packaging and design boldly states its ideals, and the social media plan is well executed (a topic I will undoubtedly cover later this month, so heads up).


social and economic sustainability?

It has been a while since I posted last. What can I say, last semester was very busy. The upcoming one seems to be just as promising. Despite my lack of time to blog about it, I learned quite a bit about sustainability this last semester. What I would like to address in this post, however, is the breadth of sustainability.

Often when people hear the word “Sustainability” they think of things that are eco-friendly, such as low emission vehicles, recycling, and debate about pollution control that is so often in the media. What the word often fails to conjure up, however, is thought about the social and economical ramifications of being a sustainably minded individual.

The social ramifications of sustainability are very happy, sunshiny thoughts of oneness and considering others as well as ourselves. To many people these thoughts may seem hippie-ish and socialist, but to consider what is involved mentally in being sustainable, leads one to these thoughts of relative social equality. If I am to do what will be sustainable in things economic and environmental, then I must consider how my own actions, choices and decisions affect the things around me. Once I extend this consideration to inanimate things, it tends to spread to include animate things as well. If I wish to leave this Earth better for my children, and my children’s children, then that requires me to imagine what they would want from their Earth. And finally, once I consider that, I realize there are people living here now that don’t even enjoy the Earth I wish to leave to my children.

That my friends, is to me the domino effect of a sustainably minded individual. Once we begin to consider things required to consider in order to think sustainably, this landslide of information begins pouring forth and we can begin to imagine what kind of work actually would need to be done to change anything about our current situation. Which is a good enough segway into economic sustainability, which is almost as fun, if not more, to discus than social sustainability.

Economic sustainability is so fun to discus because it shows the need and beneficiality(yes that is a made up word) of thinking and being sustainable. For those not involved in finances or business, a ROI is a return on investment. This is a major term that takes part in deeming things sustainable or not. If one has to invest  thousands to implement a new, environmentally friendly product; then one will want to know how quickly they will receive their investment back and what kind of impact it will make upon their business in the long-run. The great part about this in the realm of sustainability, is that for the most part the ROI is obvious and a wonderful justification of “going green”.

The changes implemented in being more efficient can often actually make things more economically efficient as well- which is magical!

Well in keeping with the theme of not having time to blog, I am out of time but I will take more to discuss these and other topics later! Thanks for the read! Hope you have a wonderful day and take time to consider how easy some changes can be.