Behavior Change
Purpose at Work:
How to Engage Consumers to Do Good at Scale

Consumers want to help brands shape their culture and impact. To ignite impact-driven consumer engagement you must build awareness, create a foundation for action, and inspire consumers to join you.

Addressing global crisis can feel insurmountable. There is so much work to do to heal our communities and planet. Where do we start? 

People are looking for solutions to today’s most pressing issues. Corporate impact initiatives show consumers that your brand shares their values. While corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a great start, consumers want to participate in social impact. Brands that offer people a way to make a difference on issues they care about strengthen their emotional bonds with consumers. 

A powerful new example of how to do this effectively is The Carbon Underground’s Adopt-a-Meter program. The initiative invites individuals to donate $5 or more to restore a meter of farm or rangelands. Soils hold carbon, so by regenerating soils we can draw carbon from the atmosphere back into the ground. This helps fight climate change, and also restores farming and grazing lands. Each donation helps The Carbon Underground support regenerative soul initiatives.

Brands, using their power for good ...

As more and more brands are working to steer consumers into more sustainable behaviors and lifestyles, hear from Etienne White, VP of SB's Brands for Good initiative, the latest insights on driving that behavior change and measuring the impacts — at New Metrics '19, November 18-20.

Ultimately, The Carbon Underground is spreading awareness about solutions to climate change and food security. It establishes shared beliefs around environmental stewardship and invites consumers to join them in making an impact. The Adopt-a-Meter campaign is an excellent learning opportunity for brands looking to connect with consumers around critical and meaningful impact. 

3 top lessons from The Carbon Underground on purpose-driven consumer engagement

Educate your audience

Many people have strong feelings about making an impact on social and environmental issues. This opens the door for conversations about things that matter — it also offers common ground around shared beliefs. 

The Adopt-a-Meter initiative invites people to learn more about how we can sequester carbon and address food scarcity. In fact, The Carbon Underground highlights that “mismanagement of soil has resulted in a loss of as much as 70 percent of topsoil worldwide.”  What’s more, “at the current rate of loss we may have as little as 60 years — or 100 harvests — left before the terrestrial foundation for feeding the planet is gone.” It’s time to take action. 

By sharing insights into issues that resonate with your consumers’ core beliefs, you can attract interest in your brand and build trust. By starting a conversation about our food system and the environment, you can not only advance environmental action but also build community around impact. 

Establish infrastructure for impact

After providing valuable education to consumers, it’s important to offer them opportunities to make a difference. And before you lay out an impact-driven action plan, you must build a foundation to have the most impact. The Carbon Underground is on a mission to “restore soil around the world to fight climate change.” The Adopt-a-Meter initiative partners with other organizations such as the Savory Institute and World Tree, which enable The Carbon Underground to funnel donations to actors already fighting climate change and soil degradation. Establishing an infrastructure for impact is an essential step to sparking consumer engagement.

Invite consumers to join you

Once you’ve built consumer awareness and established the framework for impact, it’s time to welcome consumers to join you. Put consumers at the heart of your impact. People feel good when they believe their purchases or donations add value to causes they care about.

The Adopt-a-Meter campaign is a caveat for consumers to take action to stop climate change. The Carbon Underground is leveraging its expertise in communications to foster consumer donations. The organization is positioning itself as a purposeful partner working towards a cleaner world. In the same way, you can build a meaningful connection with consumers by introducing them to ways they can make a difference.

Consumers want to help brands shape their culture and impact. To ignite impact-driven consumer engagement you must build awareness, create a foundation for action, and inspire consumers to join you. Show your support for climate action by donating $5 or more via Adopt-a-Meter. Join this critical soil-regeneration movement; change takes time and effort from us all.

This post first appeared on the We First blog in June 2019.

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