3 Ways to Turn Your Community into Advocates

You have a strong brand purpose and you know what your company stands for. You’ve done the legwork of building a sustainability strategy and calculating your impacts — both positive and negative. Now what? Now is the time to personalize your sustainability story to attract and bring in your community as brand advocates and customers. Brands that are committed to working toward a brighter collective reality are standing out and communicating their stories to earn the trust of consumers and other stakeholders. We know from years of research that trust leads to stronger relationships between a brand and consumers, which means stronger brand equity, more loyal consumers, and stronger sales. Below are three ways brands are earning trust and turning consumers into advocates by communicating in unique and effective ways.


1. Visual storytelling

If brands are to redefine “the good life” and make it attractive for businesses and consumers, it needs to be visually compelling. Brands need a way of representing and illustrating sustainability issues and sustainable lifestyles without falling back on tired, lackluster clichés that don’t resonate. Brands that are thriving are starting to explore the visual language their brand uses to depict sustainability and how they can represent “the good life” in ways that attract consumers on a visceral and emotional level. Using research-based principles, Radley Yeldar has mastered the art of making sustainability visually attractive. RY has worked with companies ranging from Veolia to Sodexo to personalized, visually remarkable ways to engage consumers and transform them into loyal brand advocates.


2. Embrace The Hero’s Journey

It may seem unique to think of your sustainability strategy in terms of the Hero’s Journey, but the brands that are succeeding in capturing audience attention are using this format in their communication stories. As brand strategy firm Long Run Works writes, Joseph Campbell’s study of over 40,000 stories, from aboriginal legends and religious texts to Victorian penny dreadfuls and Hollywood blockbusters, revealed a single most successful story structure, which he called the Hero’s Journey. From this, the most successful storytelling brands are using the Hero’s Journey to tell a stronger story about their businesses, the challenges they face, how they are overcoming them and the successes they are reaping.

In addition, transforming your organization’s good ideas into ones that boost brand value, engage consumers and win the support they deserve requires adhering to community cultural opportunities. As Will Hill, a speaker at SB’17 Copenhagen, and Creative Director of Long Run Works says, by seizing the following 6 cultural opportunities, brands can connect ideas to compelling stores and make the world a better place:

      1. Celebrating clean innovation
      2. Discovering opportunities from diversity
      3. Opening access to education technology
      4. Breaking the taboos standing in the way of wellbeing
      5. Making responsible consumption desirable
      6. Appreciating the true value of the natural world

Learn more about how to implement the Hero’s Journey and how to seize cultural opportunities in a two-hour deep dive session led by Will Hill at Long Run Works at SB’17 Copenhagen.


3. Tap into Consumer Awareness

A common challenge that many brands face is communicating hard metrics into consumable, attractive stories. The groundbreaking work that a brand is making on the SDGs can mean so much more if a community of advocates understands the work. The brands that are succeeding at this are researching the core behaviors, attitudes and loyalties of the consumers they are trying to reach. Tapping into issues consumers care about, and becoming aligned with global consumer awareness and worries about politics, cultural norms and more can connect your brand to your consumers in powerful ways. Brands are finding that it is important to capture “why” we are doing the work we’re doing. For example, FSC Denmark is working with brands both large and small on what types of communication resonates with consumers and shifts loyalty and behavior, and how to position company products in powerful ways in order to bring more benefits from sustainability efforts and much stronger brand value. Learn more from Loa Dalgaard Worm, Director of FSC Denmark, on the mainstage at SB’17 Copenhagen, as well as many other fascinating speakers who will share their brand communications journeys.

Nassy Avramidis
Content Development Manager
Sustainable Brands
July 28, 2017

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