Tag: global sustainability

The optimism of action

 

It was back in 2005 that I launched the Marketing Society not-for-profit group – a small thought leadership group for charity marketing folk. The Marketing Society backed the new group and have been stellar supporters ever since of charity and cause related marketing. Little did I know then that the Society would honour me with a Fellowship all these years later. I have admired previous Fellows, and secretly each year at the ceremony, wondered how they managed to achieve their awards…

Receiving the award was a good moment to reflect on the charity sector and the work we’ve done. Above all else, the thing that stands out most is the real passion people in those organisations have for their causes and for making a difference. This, to coin the words of Greenpeace, has often meant “stopping wrongs”, which is not a bad thing to say about your day job!

A redefined Marketing Society vision is also more hands-on and about making a difference in your work; “inspiring bolder leadership” including the work to support sustainability and good causes.

Charities have also taken a long hard look at their visions to meet the needs of today’s demanding supporters who want more transparency and greater action. Macmillan are about supporting and being there for the journey with cancer, Oxfam are about changing lives for the better – lifting people out of poverty. Charities have become more action oriented around fewer issues, which is a good thing. Passion and leadership doesn’t have to come from the global North.  Companies like Unilever with their 5 Levers for change and the Fairtrade Foundation, addressing sustainability and poverty, have found that people care as deeply about sustainability in emerging markets such as China and Brazil, and these countries now bring great leadership and inspiration to the table.

And organisations like Amnesty have relocated their resources to be closer to where human rights abuses are happening.  There is no point in standing on the edge of the issue. I remember Blake Lee-Harwood at one event, Greenpeace’s then Director of Campaigns, telling us how Greenpeace ‘practiced what they preached’. Still guided by the words of one of the early founders, Harald Zindler – “the optimism of the action is better than the pessimism of the thought”. Today all members of Greenpeace staff are expected to ‘stop a wrong’ or to try and ‘replace it with a right’. It is simplicity and passion at work. Take their fight against Lego partnering with Shell, who are battling to dig up the Artic, and you see the same approach at work. Seb Coe talked about his role in bringing the Olympic games to Africa, one of his stated dreams, at a Marketing Society hosted evening. His vision is to make health and sport a part of everyone’s life and normalise disability in sport. I hope that the Marketing Society continue to play a pivotal role in inspiring people to see optimism and opportunity in life changing action.

Marketing Energy

Ever since Prometheus gave the gift of fire, energy has transformed the way we live. Burning fires gave us the means to cook our food, heat our homes, transport our goods and provided us with light and entertainment.

image 1

The Fires are about to go out and our other options are challenging; the dash to gas has suddenly got more expensive as our local supplies diminish (and surely mining shale gas will interfere with the planet’s subterranean structures?) and coal emits far too much climate changing carbon dioxide.

And don’t forget, some European countries are using as much as 80% of Russian gas, making them far too dependent on Russia.

Threatened with blackout by 2015, what are our options?

 

Have Energy Days

Energy Days are being arranged throughout Europe in the month of June – part of the solution is to reduce our dependence on electricity. Therefore, by choosing to modify an every day activity, we challenge ourselves to think differently about our energy usage, such as:

  • Going gadget free
  • Going plastic free for a week – that’s indirectly reducing your dependency on oil
  • Using the stairs, the bus, the bike
  • Drinking cold drinks
  • Playing board games
  • Enjoying live music, outdoor theatre, galleries and your local pub

Measure how much electricity you save, how much money you save and how much better you feel.  You should be healthier and wealthier.

Set ambitious UK targets for our tidal power

image 2The US has, surprisingly, some interesting targets, California aims to have no non-renewable energy in use by 2020.  Texas, the once mighty oil state, is set to become the world’s 5th largest supplier of wind energy.  India is to build the world’s largest solar plant to generate 4,000 mw from sunlight near the Sambhar lake in Rajasthan.  Let’s set some ambitious UK targets. Out of the twenty sites identified worldwide suitable for tidal power, eight of these are in the UK and could supply 20% of our energy requirements. Tidal Energy encourages state investment to finance tidal power schemes, until they move into surplus and when are likely to provide a profit for an indefinite period.

 

image 3Innovation needs encouragement
The new Catapult UK technology centres are a great place for innovative companies and individuals to develop their ideas.  We need more of these so that renewable energy can be explored and reach it’s full potential.  Waiting in the wings are solutions such as, cleaner coal stations, microgeneration and  community energy suppliers of CHP, PV & Solar.

 

 

Pedal your own power or Plug on your window – what a great idea.

The socket offers a neat way to harness solar energy and use it as a plug socket. We’ve not seen any as direct as this plug-in.

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So the future is an energy mix, a mix of consumer demand and different types of energy.

Wind, Solar, Sea have always been at our disposal, think of windmills and watermills grinding corn, and new innovative versions, which could replace our dependence on fossil fuels (but without emitting destructive CO2).

Live Smarter. Greener. Fairer.

The Green Deal: Marketing Challenge or Lost Cause?

 

At first glance the Green Deal seems like a great scheme to become involved in. But then why is it that after 9 months and over 70,000 assessments, only 12 homeowners have benefitted from actual changes to their property?

The Green Deal is largely suffering from a miscommunication of ideas and a reluctance to get involved in a scheme which seems to add to personal debt for the sake of none but the environment; that big green thing that so few care to help unless it is mutually beneficial.

The pressing question we must ask now is what can the minds behind the Green Deal do, if anything, to change these misconceptions and remove the growing stigma around their initiative? Many have attempted to answer this question; the All-party parliamentary group for excellence in the built environment determined that the scheme will struggle to succeed “without additional incentives to encourage action”; editor of Business Green James Murray proposed that a partnership with the help to buy scheme could prove beneficial; whereas Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis maintains that the scheme would benefit from several minor changes such as shorter loan repayment lengths and a removal of the assessment fee.

All of these amendments would doubtless attract new interest to the scheme, however all constitute relatively large changes, many of which are not possible for the initiative to take.

It seems the scheme is destined to endure a lengthy struggle towards uncertain success in the future, however would comparatively minor changes help in any way to avoid this?

Could the focus change from the “loan” status of the initiative to the fact that the homeowner’s monthly costs are unlikely to increase in spite of the loan? And furthermore that once loan repayments are fully made monthly energy bills are likely to reduce significantly?

Could it be made clearer that the debt incurred is not personal? Or that the repayments are taken automatically through your energy supplier and so no additional bills will be added to your monthly administration?

The Green Deal has been subjected to a lot of negativity, and many are keen to offer advice about how best to remedy this; with large, policy changing alterations and additions to the benefits already offered. Few seem eager, however, to entertain the idea that the Green Deal has the potential to benefit many as it stands, and may simply need to place a strengthened focus on these benefits, while simultaneously removing some of the focus on factors which property owners may interpret as unattractive.

It seems apparent to me that were the Green Deal Finance Company to implement one or more of the following methods when promoting their scheme, they would receive at least heightened interest, if not participation;

  • A clearer, simpler explanation of exactly what it is they are offering, as offered by many external websites – http://goo.gl/Ru8T5V
  • A stronger focus on the potential benefits for the property owner, as opposed to the environment.
  • A diminished focus on the potentially off-putting elements of the scheme
  • The use of media to flag up the positives of the scheme
  • The provision of greater customer feedback portals, and extensive involvement in the discussion generated.

The scheme undoubtedly has positive and negative aspects, as all schemes do, however what seems both positive and negative for the Green Deal is that each plus point will be deemed negative by some, and each negative point will be deemed positive by others. The Green Deal thus finds itself in the awkward position of being relatively complex in addition to providing varied benefits. Though not a lost cause, it seems a lot needs to be done to move the spotlight from pitfalls to positivity.

Building your Brand on and offline our next shortcut seminar

If I say Apple, Colgate, CNN, Coca-Cola, Canon, Volkswagen, people are immediately aware of what it is, where it is from and their degree of “attachment” to the brand or product. But the awareness around these brands has been nurtured, created, developed, and maintained by the companies’ brand strategists. Often with billions of pounds. Though we might not have the budgets in the charity sector, some of the learnings are useful and applied consistently, can be very effective.

Last century, the aim was to build and to develop a strong brand with the public through advertising. Nowadays, with the Internet and ever-tough competition all over the place, organisations need to build their brand’s reputation on and offline, and be as creative as ever to generate maximum interaction.

How do you develop an on and offline strategy that works? Should we talk about the word ‘brand’ for charities, which has only just stopped being a ‘dirty word’? How do we build strong engagement around your brand?

Here are a few examples of brands that have successfully managed both their on and offline strategy over the last few years. No doubt there will be a few surprises with our selection.

The story of Adnams, a small beer producer that is building its brand around communities:

Established in 1872, Adnams, as a “basic” retailer and pub owner, started to build life around its brands by relating its products to its mission and vision.

Adnams created a community around each of its brand. In 1990, it first built the Adnams’ charity to help people living within 25 miles from Southworld. Then it created a history around each branded beer.

And finally, they are helping protect the environment and sealife by supporting the Marine Conservation Society with the launch of the Fat Sprat beer and by using “green” distillery production. For example, they work with local farmers and producers; they use aneoribic digestion units, green roofs and bore holes to chill their brewery and the first carbon neutral bottled beer was made from hops grown locally at East Green.

The company maintains interest with its audience of the histories and builds real engagement and experience through brewery visits, events for the community and regular tweets. In 20 years they have built a strong offline reputation. Recently, they have started to develop this online reputation by refreshing their retail website, finely tuned to its audience needs, inviting them to participate in events, to comment, to interact on social channels and to built the story of their brand together.

Adnams expanded their activity, opening their Adnams Cellar & Kitchen shops to attract a new segment of women. “We were keen to appeal to the 50 per cent of the population we weren’t talking to – females.” says Andy Wood, Adnams chief executive and, in 2012, they won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development.

To what end – increased sales, visits, awareness?  We’ll look at this when we meet.

Buglife building its brand to be the “one-stop-shop” for bugs

Created in the 90’s when there was no one organisation devoted to protecting invertebrates, Buglife became the first to do so in Europe.

Over the past 20 years, 1,000 active members have joined Buglife. In 2012, a strategy and business review, helped by the Tubney Foundation funding, identified opportunities to increase their membership to 10,000 in the next five years by growing awareness through the brand and establishing new partnerships.

Buglife worked on all aspects (a more contemporary logo , website, social channels, employee engagement etc.) of their brand “personality”, to create a stronger and more powerful “environmental charity”. Green Banana Marketing has been assisting Buglife in defining their priorities, brand image, audiences and digital assets including ‘developing a new’ website.

For their various audiences, offline, Buglife organise different events (including be-lines), children packs for schools to awareness of invertebrate causes through their campaigns like Neonics. Online GBM have worked hard to build an entirely new website, keeping their audience up-to-date and involved. The aim being to increase participation with main groups (media, public, policy makers and partners) and to help them understand and interact with the main issues, and supporting the ambition of being the “one stop shop” for Bugs.

These recent change gave Buglife the opportunity to review its mission and image, and to create even more real interaction with its audiences.

The online part of this project will be launched towards the end of July – so we will be able to give a progress report at our next shortcut on 26th of July.

For more information, or to book your place – View event invite now!

Green Banana Marketing Virtually Hangout: Marketing Sustainability

Giles Robertson, Managing Director of Green Banana Marketing and associate Sustainability Practitioner, Kim Bailey, took part in a Google Hangout Session on whether consumers have turned-off from green and how marketing can switch them back on.

Check out the video on our You Tube Channel:

Here are the top 10 tips for marketing sustainability that came out of that conversation:

  1. Create your own unique sustainability journey
  2. Gain leadership from the top for an effective team effort
  3. Drop the jargon, avoid ‘greenwash’, go for absolute clarity
  4. Link-up with those in the know to lessen your environmental impacts.  This can be with NGOs such as the Marine Conservation Society to work on marine projects or sustainability experts to gain the right standards and certifications
  5. Develop credible targets and deliver tangible outcomes
  6. Breakdown your vision into bite-size pieces
  7. Use real people and real projects to tell your success stories
  8. Be bold in your ambitions and actions and let people know about them
  9. Social media is your best friend in creating conversations and motivating your customers, explain on a day-to-day basis how you are doing things and don’t ever tell porkie pies
  10. Celebrate success & reward your customers.  Place the emphasis on personal benefit and show how the greater good has benefited too.

Although the good old marketing strategies of knowing your customer and meeting them where they are in their environmental knowledge still holds good; sustainability marketing requires tangible proof for any claims.  Promises need to be delivered.

Green Banana Marketing Ltd’s associate sustainability practitioner, Kim Bailey, works with companies and charities to ensure that they are as green, smart and fair as they claim to be.

Follow us on Twitter @gogreenbanana.

 

 

 

Plan for the down time

Why not make an action plan now of the five things you are going to tackle with your brand and marketing this summer?

These often discussed tasks keep getting pushed to the bottom of your to-do list. Set aside time now with specific dates for each task and spend a day planning each of them. Treat yourself to a nice lunch and have ‘a date’ with your ‘to dos’ and turn them into ‘dones’.

Our recommendations – although somewhat broad and of course non-specific to your cause and charity – would be the following:

 

1. Take a day to review each of your audience types. You should have personas for each type of person and user journeys as to how they interact and when you can prompt them to support you. Do you need to look in more detail about each of your segments? Six advantages of segmentation: Focus of the company / Increase in competitiveness / Market expansion / Customer retention / Have better communication / Increases profitability (marketing91.com)

 

2. Is your digital estate reflective of how people have or would like to interact with you? Do a social audit and write a social media strategy. 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook (Business2community)

 

3. How is my money spent? This is the biggest question current and potential supporters, from your experience, want to know the answer to. Is your charity explaining clearly how each pound is spent to them? What are the impacts and link this to numbers and quantities that are realistic and meaningful i.e. ‘the same as the UK population” and  “the time it takes to make a piece of toast” work because they are easily understood and have a relevant context

 Why not write-up meaningful case studies that demonstrate your work.

 

4. What is today’s brand story? Stooped in myths and no-doubt your organisation has a long history.  People like to read about real people doing real projects, so bring alive the breath-and-depth of your organisation’s history i.e “delivering for the environment for the last 60 years” with the latest projects “here’s our snow leopard live tracking with Hans and his team…”

 

5. Use film. Make your story comes alive in 30 seconds; do have a three minute version (and a ten minute one too for potential partner meetings). About 46% of people say they’d be more likely to seek out information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video and it is the 6th most popular marketing content today (blog-eloqua.com)

 

In the days and weeks ahead, use the summer quiet period to make a difference. We could do the heavy lifting for you and deliver some of the above and help you tick off your to do list, before going back to school.

 

Five ways to increase your influence with social media

Social media
Social media has become a far more prominent and important part of most people’s lives than we could have predicted.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends”

Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon

Social media began almost a decade ago but it’s become a far more prominent and important part of most people’s lives than we could have predicted. It has become a more advanced version of the classic word-of-mouth – and companies try to use it as such.

Here are five tips to help increase your influence through social media platforms.

1. Know your online presence

Nowadays, almost all groups, charities, companies and individuals are running a social platform (or they should be). However, to make the most of your online presence, you need to be able to answer three fundamental questions:

  • What is my online presence? For instance, we’ve had clients not knowing about multiple Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook feeds, working inconsistently with different messages
  • Which social platforms best fit my supporter /audience base? For instance, Vine, the six second video sharing site, lends itself very well to WWF’s endangered species programme, but is perhaps less effective for the Samaritans’ support work
  • How are we measuring our influence online? Are we plotting and measuring where people go on our site, who is re-tweeting and what number of comments are we getting on our posts? (and, more importantly, how many people has this been fed on to)? Most platforms offer tools to measure how many times your pages or posts have been seen, the number of clicks per minute you’ve received, what content is the most appreciated (liked) by viewers, and so on.

2. Understand the best way to influence key audiences

Once you have found what is the best platform to reach your target audience, you need to find the best way to influence them through this channel. Should we produce posts, videos, photos and engage our target audience with games, petitions, actions, competitions etc? Keep them informed of how many actions and time spent equates to a certain level of influence. Amnesty do this really well, explaining that in 5 minutes you could sign a petition, with half a day’s support, you could attend a rally.

3. Produce shareable content – and make it easy to do so!

Most social platforms allow for the sharing of content so it is easy to engage with campaign videos, infographics, viral, posters, etc. in this most popular way. As stand out is tough on social platforms, all your creative talents should be focused on producing relevant photos to promote your posts and increase sharing opportunities. Make sure your content is not too heavy and long, and that people can quickly understand and share with their comments (and ownership). Heck, why not write a shareable chunk of text to go with posts, 140 word re-tweet friendly.

4. Consistent and flowing campaigns – don’t start and stop.

When you start being present on a social, make sure you keep your audience engaged by regularly posting information (at least twice a week). Show off past projects and successes, the difference you’ve made so far, your ‘storyboard’ or your personality – by interacting in this way, you will build engaged audiences. Keep you audience up to date. But don’t bore them.

5. Finally, let others do the heavy lifting!

Relevant partners will happily use your content, so build your campaign and change strategy with this in mind. You may well be the trusted partner in this programme and you can make use of networks, which may well quickly get to 1.5million people – if you are working with O2 Priority Moments, for instance. This is well worth doing if it can build support and engagement in a meaningful and relevant way.

Some of the best charities and environment social campaign from the last year include:

Campaign “Touch Yourself” for Breast Cancer Awareness

Touch Yourself
The campaign aimed to promote early cancer detection through self-checks for breast lumps.

The campaign launched in October 2012 by F Cancer and Women’s Health and Men’s Health magazines, aimed to promote early cancer detection through self-checks for breast lumps. A Facebook app was created to pledge to perform a self-check and share a variety of 14 pre-written postcards with friends, encouraging them to do the same.

This is the king of campaigns, a perfect example of how to use of social channels. Facebook was the main channel, with sharable content engaging the target audience and ways to encourage friends to do the same.

Campaign Twestival for Charity: Water

Twestival
Twestival aimed toto bring Twitter communities together to raise money for Charity: Water

“On 12 February 2009, 200+ international cities hosted a Twestival (Twitter + festival) to bring Twitter communities together to raise money for Charity: Water”. One week later the charity water staff flew to Ethiopia to drill the first well.

They immediately posted videos on Twitter related to their work, with some “re-tweetable“ information about water conditions, and published funds raised for each city. The Twitter activity allowed communities to engage, raise £174,899 funds for water projects, to build 55 wells, to serve water to over 17,000 people, and also to allow followers to see the day to day activity.

 

 

Emerging countries innovating could be our sustainable key

You don’t often leave a day’s conference with a Trashion bag made from recycled packaging. This was part of ‘turning waste into style’, one of Unilever’s initiatives harnessing local Indonesian creativity and creating 25 fashion lines from waste packaging.


Unilever’s Keith Weed pledged at The Marketing Society’s Annual Conference to halve emissions from his 4,000 products (as diverse as Marmite and Dove soap) by 2020. Who can blame him for injecting some creativity into embedding sustainability – it is now core to Unilever’s business. The scale of the challenge is clear with 68% of emissions coming from product use.

Imagining tomorrow’s products is one of their approaches (think Comfort’s One Rinse detergent which needs less water to wash clothes) alongside working with the right ‘expert’ NGO partners to help them on their journey.

As the global population booms and we see a shift of power from G7 to E7 countries, Keith said it is important for companies to be transparent (as people are increasingly interested in companies) and to be honest with what is achievable (if the whole planet lived like we do in the West we would need an extra three planets to support us).
The International Airlines Group CEO, Willie Walsh claimed reducing emissions could be achieved through the use of biomass plants to create aviation fuel and by rationalising air traffic control into one system, allegedly saving 12% of CO.  Perhaps more leadership in driving such innovation through to a workable proposal is needed from Willie himself?

Emerging economies such as Indian, China and Brazil are also key to addressing global sustainability.  Dr Tim Lucas from Sao Paolo’s The Listening Agency talked about Brazil’s uniqueness  – on track to be the fifth largest economy. Brands are respected and a fierce class hierarchy exists which has driven many companies to have sub brands to co-exist in completely different parts of town.  Perhaps a shared approach to product sustainability and recycling could unify company approaches- something few brands have attempted.

Ajayan Gopinathan from The Philosophers Stone discussed Indian’s motivations and desires. The world’s third largest economy is clearly enjoying a boom. 32% of the population are under 15 years of age and kid’s parent pester power is king when it comes to certain brands. Young people think they can do anything, an energy brands could harness for the good of the people and the planet.

Brands new to this market need to touch people with narrative stories that fuse cultures in sensitive and real ways. Indians are people oriented and very proud of their country.  Over 865 million have mobile phones and there are 400 TV channels – many of them local.

We’ve learnt from our work in emerging markets like China and Brazil that people care deeply about sustainability.  Companies who tailor their approach supported with on the ground projects making a real difference, stand to be part of the country’s fabric for the next decade.