Can advertising stop climate change?

Can advertising and marketing campaigns focused on sustainable and ethical business be used to promote sustainability and the vision of a thriving planet?

Ads are an excellent way to target specific niches. Used effectively, they can spread awareness of an issue, raise brand visibility or sell a product or a service.

According to Statista, the spend on advertising in the UK in 2021 was forecast to be £23.6 billion GBP, with a predicted growth to over 27 billion GBP by 2024.

It is recommended that a business’ marketing budget should be set at a minimum of 5%. Startups and SMEs will likely spend more. Additionally, brands that compete heavily in their space will have to spend more for visibility.

Dare to dream

Advertising, if done correctly, is extremely effective.

Most of the well-known household brand names of today have built up their brand awareness through repeated messaging through advertisements on multiple fronts.

Any advertising around climate change is done by organisations which take an academic view on the subject. This is also evident in the means by which they share their results, which often lack a creative approach.

I love a good statistic, or interesting data. However, creativity immediately catches my eye. I suspect this is true for the average consumer as well.

We want to be inspired, and I have never, to this day, seen an advertisement to inspire me as to what a green future should look like.

Spending on sustainability

I recently listened to a podcast by the Institute of New Economic Thinking (INET) with David Fenton of Fenton Communications. He made a fantastic point about communications and marketing spend around the climate emergency which really resonated with me. 

Businesses that make a profit spend a significant amount to market directly to consumers. Businesses working on climate change spend most of the marketing budget to communicate their policy or put out white papers. Additionally, they spend their resources on several programmes, which means that focus is lost.

You have to have a strategy and concentrate your resources on achieving an objective. You don’t scatter it out.’

Another point made is the need for simplicity and repetition in messaging so that mainstream public can see, understand and easily act upon it.

Simplifying the message

Sustainability comes with many preconceived notions. For a long time anything “green” was synonymous with “hippie” or “new-age”.

Sustainable brands are finally starting to be much more visible through repeated conversations with consumers and early adopters willing to take a chance.

However, even today, sustainability, needs to be explained in simpler terms.

Without that, it will be much more challenging to convince the ordinary consumer to help tackle climate change and choose slower making and conscious consumption.

Perhaps it should start with those dreams of a healthy, prosperous future. A logical, well-thought through, clear version of those dreams with a realistic road map.

Part of the solution

Government on Climate Change

Net Zero is one of the government’s biggest areas of focus. To attain that, it would be wonderful to see multi-level nationwide campaigns and advertisements that speak directly to the average person. 

The UK government has set out plans to cut carbon emissions down to 78% by 2035. Big businesses and corporations do need to step up to achieve this. So do SMEs, small enterprises and ordinary people.

Marketers can promote Net Zero

Stories are important. In fact, messaging that contains a story is 22 times more memorable than just fact.

Combine that with the importance of repetition, and it is clear that changing the narrative will take more than just one person or brand or business working alone.

The storytellers and creatives, the wizards of words and visions that captivate, entertain and persuade have a key role to play. After all, they create the framework behind the stories we most remember.

Businesses cut carbon

It’s all too easy for SMES to feel like the underdog. Smaller marketing budgets, fewer hands on deck and giant targets to hit.

Our solution to this is The Power of Positive Shopping, our campaign with a two-fold purpose.

One, to allow sustainable British and Irish businesses to pool their resources to access new, exclusive opportunities and gain increased visibility. It allows them to join forces with their tribe to tell their stories and have them shared by others who understand their ethos.

Two, to connect the conscious consumer with the most beautiful sustainable brands in the UK and Ireland. Help them remember who you are by telling them your story in a creative way.

This year, our contribution to harnessing the power of the collective through advertising is to bring these brilliant brands to your doorstep, real or virtual, through our Positive Shopping catalogue.

Please sign up here if you’d like to receive a digital copy when it’s out.

One year on, Earth Day 2021

The puppy featured in my Earth Day blog in 2020 is now huge, all ears, nose and prey drive. Bull Lurcher meets Hunterway, he’s sweet as pie until dusk falls and the inner hunter takes over.