Every year, Earth Day serves as a reminder of our responsibility to our planet—and never have we needed the reminder more urgently than now.
The last few years have accelerated the transformation of countless businesses across many industries. Companies have streamlined operations, rethought their identities, and looked for new ways to innovate on a budget, with sustainability and environmental efforts close to the top of the list. Several titans have committed to very public, very large, very green makeovers, from the previously maligned BP to the newly carbon-neutral Apple to that most iconic of fast-food brands, McDonald’s.
When it comes to rebranding, we’ve talked about ways to make your rebrand sustainable—from hiring vendors with sustainable practices, to opting for better signage materials, to eliminating paper collateral when packaging products.
These are all excellent ways to reduce environmental impact, but it’s no longer enough to move in silence. We have a responsibility, corporate and individual, to tackle the challenges to our planet as part of a global collective. And part of that means communicating openly about sustainability—especially during a rebrand, where this may feel like the least of your concerns.
A sustainable rebrand: more than just good PR
Renewable energy advocate Robert Swan once said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
By communicating your commitment clearly, you are pledging your evolved brand to a more sustainable way forward. Publicly discussing your sustainable practices isn’t just a feel-good PR move: it’s an essential component of your brand’s future. With the right external communication plan, you can connect with an increasingly green-minded market, create the kind of long-term value that attracts investors, and build a roster of eligible partners and vendors, many of whom are also making the shift towards sustainability. The right allies will make it much easier for you to uphold your commitment to sustainability during your rebrand and beyond.
Communication within your organization is equally important. We have seen internal communication fall to the bottom of the list in the face of scheduling and cost concerns, but good internal communication can smooth out the bumps on the road to rebrand excellence. Not only can a well-positioned internal comms plan keep employees informed on the changes that affect their day-to-day, it also gives you the opportunity to reinforce the new brand culture, where sustainability plays a bigger role than ever for many organizations.
Being transparent will build trust in your brand as you undertake the important work towards a more sustainable tomorrow.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that sustainability goes beyond environmental initiatives – it encompasses social and economic issues as well. In addition to innovating across your hard asset categories—signage, fleet, products and packaging, branded environments and collateral—consider whether there are any opportunities to heighten and highlight your social responsibility during your rebrand.
Above all, be sincere in your efforts. Sustainability is a learning journey, and when you’re undergoing a rebrand, that journey is happening in the public eye. Being transparent will build trust in your brand as you undertake the important work towards a more sustainable tomorrow.
How to build sustainability marketing into your rebrand
Your rebrand is the perfect opportunity to look at your many marketing assets and consider how to enhance or expand them. Key touchpoints to consider include:
- Launch day. Your launch event is an excellent place to highlight sustainability messaging, whether it’s by addressing sustainability in your speeches or by opting for environmentally-friendly launch kits and apparel.
- Website. A dedicated corporate responsibility page sends the message that you’re serious about sustainably. Even if you’re taking a phased approach to your web rebrand, you can still bring in sustainability messaging early on.
- Brand videos. If your rebrand includes updating your brand videos, consider adding some messaging around sustainability. You can also add a standalone sustainability video to your list of net new video assets.
- External advertising campaigns. Are you planning specific campaigns as part of your post-launch activities? Ads, newsletters, blogs, and partnerships with sustainability champions can help showcase your commitment. Want to take it a step further? Consider whether you can meet your sustainability engagement goals entirely digitally.
- Internal communications plans. It’s important to talk the walk when it comes to brand culture. Ensure your organization is aligned top to bottom through robust and consistent education and messaging about sustainability. Including sustainability messaging in your brand training materials will make your values clear and set up your rebrand for success.
No matter how much you may be doing to support sustainability in your product and operations, the importance of communication cannot be ignored. By building sustainability marketing right into your rebrand—not just as a public image afterthought—you can support an effective brand transformation and honor your new values in a meaningful way.