10 Top Tips
Greenwashing – Cutting through the noise.
Hi, Mark here from Superfried design. If you have been directed here, hopefully you are seeking tips on how to communicate with authority, authenticity + distance yourself from the damaging trend of greenwashing.
This is not an easy task, so I hope these tips are useful. However, they are not a complete solution, so if your organisation would benefit from additional support – click to book a call.
01 Keep it simple
The problems we are facing globally as a specices are daunting and complex. As experts within our respective fields we sometimes forget that our audience does not have the same experience or educational background. This is particularly common in the environment sector, since much of the background behind our actions is of a scientific nature. So with every message, ask yourself 'would my gran understand this?' With this in mind, use simple everyday language and avoid industry acronyms and terminology.
02 Keep it short
It is almost important to be succinct. We are bombarded with information every second of the day, so attention spans quickly diminish. When writing your communications, prioritise. What is the single most important message for the reader to take away. Then as a nice to have, select a second + third – anymore than this is highly ambitious : )
03 Stay positive
We know we need to change the way we live. But if we are honest, we would rather we didn't have to. Ultimately we all want our lives to be simpler, not more complex. Consequently, if we want our audience to take our messages on board, telling them there is no future and that it is all their fault likely to fail. Instead, rather than fear and examples of failure we should focus on examples of success. Where collaboration has led to real change.
Understandably people are often daunted by the scale of the problem. This leads to the common idea that the action of one will make no difference. The result – inaction. However, there are countless examples through history that demonstrate the small, collective actions of many can change the world. If this worked before, it can work again.
04 Be authentic
In a world of social media, there is no where to hide. Consequently, it is now more essential than ever to be honest. The damage can be brutal if you are found out. When stating your environmental intentions, ensure they will be measurable. Make sure you explain the reason behind the action. If one of the reasons is because it will be profitable, say so as the honesty will be appreciated and your actions seem more plausible.
05 Follow up
When making your ambitions known, not only must they be measurable, they must have a deadline. But stating a deadline and forgetting about it is not enough. Even if you fail to meet your target, review the progress, explain what went wrong and set a new realistic target. Failing is easy – everyone does it – the hard part is owning up, learning from it and going again.
06 Do your homework
Google has now democratised information. It is therefore important to back-up everything you say with evidence. Sweeping statements + opinions will no longer be accepted as fact. Although scientific research is often completely dismissed, the inclusion of this evidence demonstrates discipline and attention to detail. This will help to build credibility and respect for your brand and organisation.
07 Information management
"I need to keep it simple and back up my statements with science – isn't that a contradiction?"
This is a challenge where technology can help. It is important to back-up your argument, but there is a time and place to read through complex scientific data. Therefore, when writing your succinct copy, an underlined link to the research paper tells the reader the evidence is available, without affecting the flow or stealing their time. They choose to delve deeper into the detail later when time permits, or opt out if the highlights were sufficient.
08 Market research
I am not suggesting you hire a market research company for every piece of messaging, but it can be valuable to reach out amongst friends, family and peers. Within just our immediate contacts the wide range of different interpretation can be startling. This is particularly useful when shared with those unfamiliar or not interested in the topic. If you are able to pique intrigue with these candidates, you are heading in the right direction.
09 Tone of voice
In addition to the use of every day language, tone of voice is key. When discussing the need to change our behaviour or think about things from a global perspective, it is very easy to fall into the trap of patronising your audience. It is easy to forget it is far easier to do the right thing if you are fully informed and it is part of your job. Therefore, it is important to respect your audience – no one likes to feel guilty, stupid or judged. Get someone to read it back to you – are you getting flashbacks to your school days?
10 Lead, don't follow
This is easier said than done, but before pressing send, review the market and your competitors. Your environmental ambitions may be aligned with your rivals, but is there a different approach or another consideration they have missed. If your copy was side by side, which do you believe and why? The best intentions will be wasted if no one believes what you say. It is far better to be second and correct than first and wrong.
Taking the next step...
I hope this brief overview has been helpful. But as mentioned above, this is just the tip of the iceberg, so if you would like to discuss how Superfried can develop a bespoke solution for your organisation, please click the link to book a call >>