A New Year For Storytelling

Sometimes following what goes on in the world of sustainability feels a bit like doing homework. Carbon emission reduction targets, true cost, carbon markets, standardized reporting, climate change mitigation -- the list goes on. While it’s critical to understand what each of those topics means for businesses and consumers, it’s not the type of language that will get mass audiences to “go green.”

When I think back to the most successful marketing or viral campaigns of 2012, not one is a campaign that promotes sustainability. Instead, I think of Red Bull’s Stratos Space Jump, Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America,” Procter & Gamble’s “Best Job,” and, yes, even “Gangnam Style.” What do all those campaigns have in common? Great storytelling. 

If businesses want to bring consumers into the fold of their green efforts, something needs to change in the way they communicate their sustainability story. It’s time to connect the dots between corporate leadership with creative storytelling to make sustainability irresistible to consumers. Here are a few lessons from some 2012 campaigns that can be applied to green marketing in this new year:

  • Create Excitement: The best part of Red Bull’s 2012 Stratos Space Jump campaign was the enthusiasm, even fervor, it created around the daredevil jump from the edge of space. The hype, the energy, the excitement -- you’d think the campaign was on Red Bull itself. Green marketers would do well to create the same energy for any of their campaigns as well. Let your green marketing campaign put consumers on the edge of their seats with excitement.  

  • Let The (Happy) Tears Drop: Everyone across America was talking about Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler Super Bowl commercial last year. The two-minute advertisement was moving, optimistic, and it even brought some to tears. The same can be said about Procter & Gamble’s Best Job ad, which ran throughout the Olympics and shows mothers across the world attentively taking their kids (future Olympians) to practice. Emotions run deep in both commercials, and we need more of those happy tears in green marketing.

  • Don’t Forget to Dance: Sustainability doesn’t have to be boring. Think of all the way consumers engage with a company’s green messaging, such as product packaging or a product website. How can those consumer touch-points be made more enjoyable for the consumer? While this doesn’t necessarily mean getting your Chief Sustainability Officer to dance Gangnam Style, it can mean infusing your green marketing with a dose of fun and creativity. 

What ideas do you have to make green marketing irresistible to consumers in 2013? Add your comments below or send them to @NayelliGonzalez.

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