More and more companies, big and small, are communicating their sustainable credentials. For good reason … sustainability sells.
Large companies have whole departments dedicated to this because communicating your local business’s sustainability credentials can be rife with pitfalls.
Here are my top tips on how local businesses can get their sustainability message out there.
Understand your audience.
Before you start communicating your sustainability message it’s important to understand your audience. As a local business, you are uniquely placed to understand what matters to your community so when communicating your message ensure you find an angle that will resonate and interest them.
What you mean by sustainability.
Sustainability means a lot of different things to different people, so explain to your audience the elements of sustainability you're talking about.
Don't spin it.
People that shop small do so for a reason, they care about their local community and understand the sustainable benefits of supporting local businesses. They will know if you are not authentic with your messaging and nothing is more damaging than being labelled as a greenwasher.
Harness the power of positivity.
Most of the stories in the news about sustainability will be bad news … the climate crisis, lack of biodiversity, rising sea levels and poverty dominate headlines so when sharing external content consider what type of information you want to share. Stories of positivity are much easier to digest and in the current time of crisis, positive stories can result in positive behaviour change.
Your employees and customers already have ideas and opinions about what you should be doing. So asking their involvement creates engagement, so use this as a positive opportunity to communicate with your community and find out what matters to them.
Make it relevant.
Don’t use jargon, don’t start talking about cubic meters of carbon … start talking in real terms about what your actions as a business will mean to your community.
Audience expectations on sustainability are rising, so communicating about basic housekeeping, saving energy, or meeting waste targets just doesn't cut it anymore so you need to be creative in what you are communicating.
Living a more sustainable life can be a virtuous pursuit, but making people feel guilty for not doing so is not something to be recommended. Plenty of people doing that already. So encourage people to make small changes, and lead by example.