5 vital marketing tips to jumpstart your sustainability campaign

At Pure Visibility, we’re proud of our sustainable business practices. But a few months ago (at the peak of winter and hot beverage consumption), we noticed that we could do more to reduce our paper cup use, especially with easy access to Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea just two floors below us.

After some initial brainstorming on the issue, we decided to partner with nonprofit social venture Kill the Cup, Sweetwaters, and the other Kerrytown shops to decrease paper cup waste not just in our office, but also in our entire building. That’s when “Kill the Cup Kerrytown” was born! From May 11 – 22, we worked together to run a 2-week competition to see which Kerrytown business could achieve the greatest reusable mug rate at Sweetwaters. The winning business won a free marketing workshop from PV and individuals received prizes for submitting selfies with their reusable mugs (using #KillTheCup or #KillTheCupKerrytown).

The campaign was short, but we learned a heck of a lot from it…

While we learned a lot about paper cup waste and were inspired to make a change in our consumption habits, the contest also revealed some useful lessons in how to successfully market a sustainability campaign.

Set up a successful game plan for your sustainability campaign:

  1. Make it relatable: Center your campaign around what people can easily relate to. At least 83% of U.S. adults drink coffee (not to mention tea) and can easily relate to the purpose of Kill the Cup.
  1. Make it simple: Tell your story in a way that is easy to understand, then, present a simple way for people to help.Kill the Cup campaigns don’t need to explain paper cup manufacturing processes or landfill logistics in order to get their point across. They just ask people to carry a reusable mug (and make it enjoyable)! Simple as that.
  1. Make it fun: If your message is one of doom and gloom or guilt, it is less likely to stick with your audience. A campaign sourced by positivity, on the other hand, will attract more participates. Kill the Cup achieves this success through gamification: its contest format (who doesn’t want to win prizes?) and point-tracking phone app make it FUN to do good.
  1. Make it social: It is human nature to want our peers to accept and respect us. By using social media as the driver of its campaigns, Kill the Cup taps into this innate human desire to follow social norms and be “one of the cool kids.” Although “selfie culture” often gets a bad rap, Kill the Cup is one example of how it can be used as a positive force in the world.
  1. Make it measurable: The first four tips should lead your marketing strategy, but don’t underestimate the impact of a few powerful statistics. Do-gooders are increasingly data-driven and want to see proof of their impact.  Kill the Cup provides meaningful data to the public in order to further support their efforts. Check out their 2014 Impact Report to see what we mean.

Do you have any #winning sustainability marketing tips we didn’t mention? Share with us in the comments!

For more information about Kill the Cup or to start your campaign, visit www.killthecup.org.