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30 January 2012

Sustainability (yawn) becomes sexy


A growing number of international companies have come to realise that by embracing social media they have to publish regularly and with reliable content. Also with big budgets and big ideas deployed, these companies want to see their good deeds go viral.

The grand ideas of projects like Pepsi's Refresh, GE's Ecomagination Challenge or IBM's Smarter Cities have made sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) communications a sexy proposition. No longer is it do-gooder stuff best left buried somewhere at the back of the annual report.

This mainstream marketing embrace of sustainability didn't simply emerge because of competitive jealousy. In a number of high-profile cases it has been driven by a real commitment by companies to make their operations more sustainable. And the companies that truly are making their business more sustainable – be it through improved energy efficiency, lowering emissions, policing their supply chains, pioneering ethical sourcing and promoting equitable working environments – have a distinct advantage in social media communications. That's because they have a good and believable story to tell and, good storytelling remains the most valuable currency in social media.

Some like Levis, IBM, Sony, Kimberly-Clark and PepsiCo seek to mobilise sustainability and cause-related awareness through heavy marketing-led digital programmes like Levis' Pioneers, Sony's Open Planet Ideas, Huggies' Moms Inspired, PepsiCo's Womens' Inspiration Network and, yes, Pepsi Refresh (still going strong).

Source: The Guardian Sustainable Business Blog. To read the full article, click here.

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