ESG is a framework for defining an organization’s values in environmental, social, and governance capacities. According to Nasdaq, “Investments in ESG strategies grew 42% from 2018 to 2020.” And they’ve only increased since then.
This rise in investment tells us it’s prime time to integrate ESG values into your marketing. Because not only do investors care about ESG strategies—customers want to know your brand does too.
So how do you communicate your ESG values in a way that sticks?
The key to effective ESG marketing is being outspoken about your values without going “overboard.” You don’t want your values to be a mystery, but you also don’t want to come off as spammy, irrelevant, or fake. It’s a fine line that looks different for every business and industry.
For example, if you’re a reusable food wrap brand, consumers are probably going to accept more frequent, in-your-face messaging about the threat of plastics on the planet than they would for a business coach who works with service providers.
Here are 5 steps to nail your ESG marketing tactics, plus examples of ESG marketing in action.
1) Audit your business practices
You may be upholding some fabulous ESG values without realizing it! Take stock of the types of clients you work with, the people you hire, or the initiatives your team takes part in. Maybe you prioritize purchasing from small local businesses or people from marginalized populations. Perhaps your business invests in sustainable energy, follows a thorough waste reduction process, or takes a human-centric approach to leadership. Get it all on paper.
2) Determine which ESG issues are the MOST relevant to your customers
The best ESG-centered marketing is clear and simple.
You don’t have to cram E, S, and G into your messaging if it’s not relevant. For instance, at Drio, most of our value-based messaging falls under one core value within the Social umbrella: uplifting women-run small businesses. Of course, we care about the environment and equal governance structures, but these messages aren’t as relevant to the work we do.
Before crafting an ESG-fuelled marketing strategy, listen to your people to see what they care about most.
Depending on your industry, common sense may be enough to guide you here. But you can also conduct interviews, create polls on social media, or send out a survey to your email list. From there, you can define a few pillars to support your messaging.
3) Integrate these values into your marketing strategy
Next, figure out how and when you’ll talk about these values in your marketing strategy. Start by crafting key talking points for each value or initiative. Why is that ESG value important to your brand and why does it matter to your customers?
From there, you can set parameters for how often you’ll bring up each value, rules to help you stay on-brand and avoid being disingenuous, and how your messaging might vary by platform.
4) Be transparent about your impact
Voicing your values is one thing. Showing the proven impact takes it to the next level.
Consider doing corporate reporting or surveys to measure the effects of your business’s efforts. It could be qualitative or quantitative data.
Whatever the case, be transparent about the difference your business is making. You can then create press releases or other marketing content to spread the word about your impact.
5) Uplift other businesses
Supporting other businesses with similar beliefs is a powerful way to amplify your ESG values.
Seek out businesses in your industry or shoulder industries to support. You can do so by working with them, giving them shout-outs on social media, leaving reviews, or recommending them to friends. Get creative with it! Maybe you can help plan volunteering events, social gatherings, or webinars to spark conversations and drive business to like-minded brands.
These kinds of connections create a powerful sense of community while spreading your positive impact even further.
Need help weaving ESG values into your marketing?
Our digital marketing strategy sessions could be just the ticket. During this half-day strategy intensive, we’ll peek under the hood of your business and give you the space to lay out all of your goals and challenges. Following your session, we’ll build a 90-day action plan to move your biggest goals forward.
Get in touch to request a strategy session.