When done thoughtfully, brands can use social media to champion sustainable living and generate positive outcomes that are favorable to people, the planet and their overall business results.
Unlike the generations that came before us, our modern culture is more connected in conversation than ever before. The power of social media is undeniable; and we have only scratched the surface on how this platform can be used as a force for good. With its unique ability to reach almost every cross-section of consumer, today's brands can engage their audience through education and inspiration to drive the adoption of more sustainable behaviors at scale. As brands build their social campaigns that drive demand for more sustainable products and services, they can differentiate their brand and establish themselves as leaders in the marketplace by simultaneously showcasing their own purpose-driven initiatives.
Prioritizing content that champions sustainable living pays off. Sustainable Brands®’ Socio-Cultural Trend Tracker research shows that brands who act sustainably — and provide support for consumers’ own sustainable actions — drive brand trust, loyalty and purchasing behavior.
78 percent of US consumers report that they support companies that act sustainably by purchasing their products and services — an increase of 9% since 2021.
Studies also show that over half of consumers learn about new brands through social media, and that the amount of time adults use social media across all channels is at an all-time high of 95 minutes per day. It’s encouraging to imagine the kind of future brands could collectively create if humanity spent this time consuming inspirational content around living a more sustainable lifestyle.
Sustainable Brands research also revealed the SB Brands for Good Nine Sustainable Behaviors as the most impactful actions that brands and consumers can take to collectively drive a culture of sustainable living. Brands can leverage these data-driven and expert-validated behaviors by aligning their internal initiatives with one or more of these areas, and creating inspirational and educational campaigns that directly engage consumers to also take action in one or more of these areas:
Navigating the ever-changing social media landscape requires constant moderation, engagement and perspective. Knowing exactly which voices to activate, influencers to align with, and specific tone of messaging brands should use to authentically connect with their audience can be a delicate balance. When done thoughtfully, brands can use social media to champion sustainable living and generate positive outcomes that are favorable to people, the planet and their overall business results.
In July of 2022, McCormick & Company partnered with actress and viral TikTok star Tabitha Brown to release a collaboration spice. Brown transitioned to a vegan diet in 2017 and started making real-time videos to share her vegan journey in a humorous and approachable way. Her warm personality and upbeat passion has captured millions of followers. McCormick decided that Brown’s southern charm and uplifting messages would make her the perfect influencer to represent their brand and align with their sustainable approach to food.
McCormick amplified the partnership by launching a limited-run product in partnership with Brown — McCormick Sunshine all-purpose seasoning — and the Caribbean-inspired blend sold out in minutes. McCormick now maintains a sign-up list for followers to be notified when this product will make its return, creating an ongoing demand for this coveted flavor. On average, McCormick’s social content featuring Brown has outperformed brand benchmarks by 28 percent. Partnering with a beloved influencer who champions plant-based diets aligns McCormick with more sustainable food consumption and uplifts the voices already bringing the sustainable behavior “Eat More Plants” further into the mainstream.
Using influencers to support branded messaging on social media is a widely adopted technique. However, it is critical to fully vet an influencer’s online presence, dating as far back as possible, to ensure there is no misalignment with the brand’s positioning and messaging. Furthermore, brands must stay vigilant in how that influencer’s public perception may evolve over time and be prepared to act swiftly and appropriately to maintain the representation of their core brand values.
Influencers are just one piece of the puzzle when creating a holistic social media strategy. From understanding your audience to developing integrated campaigns, brands equipped with the tools and resources to use their voice and position on social media will be more confident in their decisions on how, when and who to engage with across platforms. To offer detailed framework and guidance on this effort, Sustainable Brands’ Brands for Good initiative has released the latest edition in its “Excellence in Execution” playbook series: Social Media for Good. This playbook offers a set of key principles that guides brands on broad strategy while also providing suggestions on tactical deployment and execution. In addition to these principles, brands can access a library of inspirational case studies for reference as they build out social campaigns that drive demand for more sustainable products and services, inspire adoption of more sustainable behaviors at scale, and leverage culturally relevant moments to drive positive change.
The playbook was created in partnership with Porter Novelli; and in collaboration with a selection of brand leaders from the SB Member Network — including The Clorox Company, General Mills, Nestlé Foods USA, Mastercard, McCormick & Company, Stanley Black & Decker, BlueTriton Brands, and HP Graphic Arts.
SB’s Excellence in Execution series is a collection of playbooks dedicated to embedding sustainability in brand communications through breakthrough creative work across a range of marketing areas, including a list of best practices and inspirational examples that drive action on SB’s Nine Sustainable Behaviors. These guides have been co-created by the SB Member Network, who share insights on what they have found to be optimal creative solutions for their marketing strategies.
Click here to learn more about the “Excellence in Execution” playbook series, or contact Brands for Good at [email protected] to learn more about joining the world’s leading brands unleashing the power of their brand influence to drive consumer behavior change at scale.