In today’s competitive marketplace, your brand needs to explore every possible opportunity to highlight its advantages and distinguish its value in the eyes of consumers.
While content marketing can help you accomplish both those goals, we know that simply creating content is no longer enough to distinguish your business from its competitors. That means brands need to get smarter about what stories to tell, what content formats to use, and what messages those stories should communicate.
One proven way to approach that goal is to use your content to promote a worthy cause – one that aligns with the values your business believes in and actively upholds. It also helps if it’s a cause your audience supports and actively considers as part of their purchase process.
For example, sustainability has become a growing area of interest for many consumers. According to a Capterra study, 88% of consumers consider the sustainability of a product before making a purchase. Furthermore, PDI Technologies’ Business of Sustainability Index report (registration required) found that 66 percent of U.S. consumers and 80 percent of young U.S. adults (ages 18-34) are willing to pay more for sustainable products vs. similar offerings from less sustainable competitors.
The brand benefits of sustainability storytelling
While consumers say they want to shop sustainably, knowing which brands and products are truly sustainable remains a barrier to that, according to Capterra.
If promoting environmental causes is among your brand’s values, you should create content that drives that message home for eco-conscious consumers. It can help you earn their attention and trust – and increase their interest in purchasing from your business.
It can also help you achieve desirable content marketing goals, such as:
- Humanizing your brand: With all the news about record-setting corporate profits, it’s easy for consumers to assume that businesses care more about profit than people. Content highlighting your contributions to the greater good can help dispel that myth and increase positive sentiment, helping you stand out from competitors.
- Expanding your brand’s reach and influence: By promoting sustainability through content, your brand may be mentioned favorably in customer conversations on environment-related topics (including on social media). Those conversations can help surface your business to new potential customers and help you enter new areas you may have struggled to penetrate.
- Delivering an engaging content experience: With the right creative approach, you can convey your sustainability messages in uniquely memorable ways. This can help you excite and engage your audience while informing them about your brand’s contributions to conservation.
Tips and examples of stand-out sustainability content
So, what content types are best suited to storytelling about your brand’s values, efforts, and investments in support of sustainability causes? And how can you strike the right balance between audience engagement and marketing impact?
Here are just a few content formats and techniques you can consider, along with examples of brands that have successfully leveraged them to share information, change minds, and inspire action around this issue.
Unboxing videos give your brand a searchable, shoppable appeal
You’ve probably noticed the growing trend of brand-centric unboxing videos on social media. There are some compelling reasons why.
For example, research shows that nearly two-thirds of shoppers say online video has given them ideas and inspiration for purchases. In addition, 90% say they discover new brands or products on YouTube, and over 40% of global shoppers report purchasing products they’ve discovered on the platform.
With nearly 10k people searching for the term “unboxing” online each month, creating content that organically associates your brand’s products with that keyword makes good sense.
And by emphasizing the sustainability of what’s being unboxed as part of your conversation, you can help your videos stand out from other efforts consumers may discover on search.
Here’s one additional point worth considering: Packaging and ads have the same basic purpose: boosting brand awareness and affinity by representing its physical products in an engaging, relevant way. They both send messages and attract like-minded consumers interested in checking out the product catalogs of the featured brands.
Billerud puts sustainability at the center of the experience
Here’s an example from Swedish paper and packaging manufacturer Billerud AB. Like my company (Arka), Billerud has a vested interest in increasing the use of sustainable packaging and shipping products. To create a connection with conservation-conscious video viewers, the brand put its own clever spin on the standard unboxing format.
The effort delivers a clear, engaging message about sustainability, wrapped in a subtle approach to brand promotion: Instead of focusing the video experience on the items inside the box, the company’s director of product insights takes the time to explain all the various features of the packaging itself – and the specific benefits each one offers for both the packages’ recipients (i.e., Billerud’s target audience) and the environment.
Animated videos entertain as they inform
People of all ages love animation. It’s a visually immersive format that can capture a relatable experience’s emotion without losing the underlying message’s impact.
Their combination of sound and imagery can make even complex information easy for your audience to absorb and remember. And with the help of the right tools, your team can produce high-quality animated videos more cost-effectively.
That adds up to a lot of content marketing value – and gives brands a compelling reason to use this format to create conversations around sustainability.
Paper & Packaging illustrates an eco-conscious transformation
How Life Unfolds, a sustainability campaign from Paper & Packaging, includes a series of brief, animated spots. They’re perfect examples of the power of animated video as a messaging format.
For example, its Boxes and Birds video uses whimsical illustrations and a lyrical, poetic voiceover to dispel the myth that the increased use of paper and packaging materials harms forest environments.
Because those materials are highly recyclable, they help conserve natural resources – a message conveyed visually as animated cereal boxes and cardboard delivery containers are magically transformed into adorable birds flying out of the kitchen window and back towards a lush, healthy forest habitat.
Print and promotional packaging puts your brand’s value directly into customers’ hands
Last but not least, rather than just depicting and discussing sustainable materials in your content, you can consider creating and distributing them as your content.
For example, for print content efforts like magazines, catalogs, or event hand-outs, you can make it a point to only use recyclable materials. When you do, it’s also worth mentioning on your other content marketing platforms, such as on your website or in social media posts.
On the other hand, you can also use sustainable products and packaging as a messaging medium itself. Essentially, you’re marketing your brand’s values through the products you sell. That doesn’t just help promote your interest in increasing sustainability. It’s an active contribution to the cause.
Nestle and Alter Eco practice the sustainability principles they promote
One shining example comes from Nestle, which became the first-ever brand in the U.K. to use 100% recycled paper and green printing techniques for its out-of-home (OOH) 6-poster advertising efforts. If you look closely at the photo of one of its bus shelter ads (below), you’ll notice that Nestle even mentions on the poster that it’s printed from materials that are 100% recyclable.
Meanwhile, global snack food brand Alter Eco uses its products and packaging to speak volumes about its commitment to food equity and waste reduction. According to the brand’s website, not only does it hold a B Corporation certification and use only fair trade cocoa in all its chocolates, it engineered its own fully compostable stand-up pouch for its line of organic quinoa. The packages are made from eucalyptus, birch, and non-GMO corn, rather than plastic, which means every consumer purchase helps spread the brand’s conservation-centric message while reducing its impact on the environment.
Sustainability content drives healthier business outcomes
All these techniques can significantly boost awareness of your business and help strengthen your audience connections. They can also help demonstrate your commitment to serving the greater good. While that may not always lead directly to increased revenue, it more than pays off in delivering measurable brand value through your content marketing.
Arka is a successful eco-friendly packaging company that has collaborated with more than 2000 small and medium-sized businesses. The company’s goal is to ensure the perfect unboxing experience and be your one-stop packaging provider from startup to enterprise. Arka offers various sustainable packaging solutions with multiple customization and carbon-neutral options. They are also equipped for consultations with entrepreneurs that aren’t sure which types of custom packaging solutions would be best for their business and even offers free samples. The company also invests in educating customers about eco-friendly custom packages via webinars, virtual workshops, and blogs.