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In today’s world, customers are increasingly looking for brands that provide a great product or service and demonstrate a commitment to doing what’s suitable for the planet.
Gavin Sheppard explains how companies are under pressure from stakeholders like customers, policymakers, and employees to get proactive on sustainable strategies. Companies must move beyond greenwashing their sustainability efforts and devise strategies that make a difference.
They discussed two main issues surrounding carbon offset and voluntary carbon offset markets while proposing Pinwall as a platform that allows brands to make their money working as hard as possible for the planet while engaging consumers in meaningful conversations about their interventions.
You can read the full transcript episode here
When discussing sustainability, we need to start with a clear definition. We must begin within our supply chain when discussing environmental and ecological sustainability. We must look at plastics, carbon emissions, travel and flights, etc. As a first step, we need to measure our current carbon footprint to measure improvements beyond the supply chain. Sustainability is about taking responsibility for your emissions and then moving towards reducing them.
Gavin and Paul discuss the disconnect between what brands do to protect the planet and how they communicate their efforts to consumers. They cite Unilever and Paul Pullman as excellent examples of top-down leadership in this area. Paul Frampton and Gavin Sheppard discussed the interplay between carbon, biodiversity, and waste.
They used the example of sea turtles, seagrass, and plastics to illustrate how a brand can intervene in an ecosystem positively, which has an exponential benefit. By reducing the disposal of plastics in the oceans, we will increase the population of sea turtles and thereby increase the density of seagrass. Seagrass is twenty-eight times more effective at sequestering carbon than a tree.
Gavin cites Unilever as an example of a company tackling the issue of sustainability in the right way. While carbon markets claim that it costs five dollars per tonne to offset your carbon emission, the actual costs are much higher. Companies like Microsoft and Canonical are spending upwards of $200 per tonne, which is more realistic. Companies need to invest in short-term and long-term strategies for carbon removal.
Gavin highlighted how storytelling is key for brands to inspire customers to take action that impacts their carbon footprint. They discussed the importance of brands taking a more detailed approach to sustainability claims rather than simply shortcutting to a “pithy claim”.
As such, businesses must find ways to communicate their values and mission engagingly with their target audience. One of the most effective ways to do this is through storytelling. Brands have used storytelling for centuries to connect with their customers on an emotional level and create an experience beyond just buying a product or service.
By weaving stories into their marketing efforts, brands can create powerful narratives that help build customer loyalty and trust while demonstrating their commitment to sustainability. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways for brands to use storytelling. Content marketing allows businesses to share stories about making positive changes in the world and helping people live better lives.
This type of content can be used across multiple channels, including social media, blogs, videos, podcasts, and more. Businesses can create meaningful connections by creating content that speaks directly to customers’ values and interests while demonstrating their commitment to sustainability. Another way brands can use storytelling is by leveraging customer testimonials and reviews from those who have already experienced the brand’s products or services firsthand.
These stories provide valuable insights into customers’ feelings about the brand’s offerings and its commitment to sustainability initiatives such as reducing waste or using renewable energy sources. Additionally, these stories can be shared across multiple channels, including social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, which will help spread awareness about the brand’s mission even further.
Finally, brands should consider using visual storytelling techniques such as infographics or videos, which allow them to communicate complex ideas in an easily digestible format while still conveying important messages about sustainability initiatives they may be undertaking. Visual storytelling will enable businesses to showcase how they are making positive changes in the world while providing customers with valuable information about what makes them unique from other companies in their industry.
By utilising these various storytelling techniques, businesses can effectively communicate their values and mission while improving customer experience at every touchpoint along the journey – from initial discovery to purchase decisions – ultimately leading them towards becoming more sustainable organisations overall. Doing so not only helps build trust between customers and companies.
You can read the full transcript episode here
A word About Gavin Sheppard
Gavin Sheppard, CEO at Pinwheel, is a twenty-year veteran in the marketing and sustainability space. He co-founded Pinwheel along with former UK home secretary Amber Rudd and ad entrepreneur Rupert Howell. He has over a decade of board-level experience across the entire commercial and marketing mix. He has built and led high-performance teams that understand, reach and influence audiences. He also has significant experience in establishing or reengineering disruptive new businesses.
To learn more about transformation at enterprises, tune in to the Time for a Reset podcast, where host Paul Frampton, Marketing Consultant at CvE, sits down with Gavin Sheppard, CEO at Pinwheel, a consultancy in the sustainability space that delivers corporate environmental and conservation actions for a positive impact on both the planet and the brand. Gavin explains the meaning of sustainability and how companies need to increase and realign their sustainability spend to make both short-term and long-term impacts. He also discusses how companies can communicate their efforts and achievements more effectively to consumers.