Suffering from Environmental Empathy Exhaustion?

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It’s great to see honey bees making headlines  for two reasons.  One, because they matter so much, our insects, and two because I wrote the headline.

Little things make such a difference.  How will the swallows have the strength to fly back next summer if there aren’t enough insects for them to eat? How would we feel if we never heard another bird sing?

Scientists have been warning us for a long time that we must take care of every aspect of our environment. ‘The Silent Spring’ was first published by Rachel Carson in 1962, ‘The Little Things That Run the World’ in 1987 by Edward O Wilson, and ‘Buzz in the Meadow’ in 2014 by Dave Goulson.  Last year we had Blue Planet.  Each time the message gets louder and finally people seem to be hearing it and responding.

But at the same time, I think there’s a phenomenon happening like compassion fatigue, let’s call it Environmental Empathy Exhaustion.

It’s where we’re so tired of bad news, dire warnings and problems so big we can’t do anything about them, that we zone it all out and just carry on as normal.

That’s why I wanted to make this year’s headline about the Honey Survey a positive one.  The actual honey crop in 2018 at 30lbs per hive isn’t great. It’s a rubbish amount compared to “the old days”.  But I came across a little chink of hope. A farmer in Northumberland planted a crop called phacelia, or purple tansy, in an old-fashioned crop rotation kind of way. The nearby beekeeper, one of our Adopt a Beehive representatives, told me the effect on his honey bees was ‘astounding’. And this was from someone who’s been keeping bees for more than sixty years. The phacelia also seemed to be good for the farmers next crop, oil seed rape.

This chink of hope is what we built the story around about this year’s honey crop. There is still plenty to worry about for honey bees, for all insects, for all of nature.  But I think people want good news and positive examples to engage them in environmental issues.

Each one of us, in the grand scheme of things, is a little thing. Just one of 7.7 billion people on the earth.  But this story shows we can make a difference by what we do, that individual little actions will make a difference, and that good, positive PR can play its part too.

To Adopt a Beehive with the BBKA please go to www.adoptabeehive.com

 

 

Brand Love: how does it translate to business marketing and PR?

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Measuring brand love in consumer marketing is big business.

It probably won’t surprise you to know that Nike for example is loved by 27.5 per cent of all 16 – 24 year olds. Slightly more surprising to learn that 32 per cent of young adults have boycotted a brand in the past year.  The main reasons were due to unethical practices, animal cruelty and poor quality products.

YouthSight, part of YouGov scores a host of brands, with consumer emotions towards them tracked on a scale of 1 to 5,  from love to hate.

Love and hate is important for business PR and marketing too. Almost every business transaction, no matter how “business-like” we try to be, will have an emotional element to it.

Top five levers of brand love for your business brand

 

1. The right endorsement or ambassador

We all look for validation from ‘people like us.’  In the business market, a brand ambassador is a customer.  Other people’s experience of your brand or service is crucial to the decision-making process. Look for case studies and customer recommendations from people or companies whose values are well known or obvious. Their experience should resonate or strike a chord with your target audience

2.  Use the right language

‘Mirroring’ is a classic sign of empathy and love in a human relationship. In consumer marketing it translates into ‘using the right language’.  KFC knew its market well enough to use the right language with its customers during its recent delivery crisis.  Their ad campaign and copy showed humour and personality.  It was right for KFC but it wouldn’t have been right for John Lewis. The right language and tone makes a huge difference.

KFC ad campaign using the right language for its customers

3. Hang out with their friends

Discovery and delight are part of the journey of love.  Your brand or service needs to be found by the right people. Being in the right communication channels – that might mean trade publications; websites; blogs; Instagram feeds; LinkedIn groups;  events; discussion forums and so on – all help you to be found.  Make sure your brand or service can be found in the places where your target audience is looking.

4. Show some love and understanding

As old as time itself, at least in terms of love and marketing.  People buy a solution for their needs, so describe all the benefits you can deliver. Show you understand and appreciate your prospects’ needs and challenges; make sure you don’t list product qualities but instead tell your target audience about the values, feelings or advantages it can give.

5. Make a commitment

“People had fallen a bit out of love with it…” How were people helped to fall in love with Tesco again? With the help of a huge increase in advertising budget.  Tesco increased its ad spend by more than any other food and drink advertiser last year to £73.9m.  (The Grocer “Tesco drives massive comeback”)

You don’t have to spend millions, but you do have to make an effort.  It takes time and effort to get the message and the medium right.  If your brand or service is valuable to you, it’s worth spending money to help others fall in love with it too.

How to get your message across, nowadays – building trust.

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People don’t want to hear from ‘experts’ any more.

Trust in leaders of any description – from business, charity, politicians, NHS – has dropped dramatically.

You need to give your staff a voice – all staff not just the management  – if you want your company message to be trusted and believed.

What does that mean and how do you go about building trust?

Our day-to-day experience in PR, measuring what campaigns work best, has been showing us for some time that content from junior staff or public feedback gains the best traction – the most views, shares and positive response.

It seems that only people ‘lower down the ranks’ have any authenticity – people who have nothing to gain by promoting a particular point of view, or equally have nothing to lose by telling it like it is.

Now a survey carried out by FleishmanHillard Fishburn has backed this up.

…“leaders of companies were seen alongside politicians as being amongst the least credible sources of information (7% and 2% respectively).

Conversely, employees ranked alongside family and colleagues (34%) as the most credible sources of information.”

The Authenticity Gap

Here’s what to do to get your message across

Be honest

Identify your messages. What are you trying to say? For example, it might be that ‘your company is a great place to work’ or ‘our products are made from better quality components so will last longer’ or ‘our response times will be better’.

Find the evidence which backs this up. The evidence might take the form of internal sales information, product information and supplier details, or actual happy staff and customers.

Identify natural spokespeople

Look for people who are happy and comfortable to describe their experience, and record them or gather their words.  Transcribe what they say or collate the information,

Use as much visual material as you can

Video content is ideal and it must have subtitles, but a slide show of photos is great; a strong graph, a funny picture. An interesting infograph. Visual communication is the most powerful medium you can employ.

Find the correct channels

Don’t try and reinvent the wheel, but do be creative looking for outlets, think of all your stakeholders and what media they consume at work and play, and then explore how your content would be appropriate and engaging on that channel.

Help people find it

After you’ve been creative in developing content and finding the right channel you then have to be ultra-meticulous in how you reference it. You must have the right links, tags, and meta descriptions attached to your content. Describe your photos, check your URLs and snippets.  It does take time but you need to help google help you.

Use the professionals

When you have to work so hard to get your message across, and when false news or disbelief can cost you so much in lost sales or opportunities, it’s worth investing in people to help you get it right.  They won’t speak for you but they will help your voice be heard.

For an informal chat about how we can help your authentic voice to be heard, drop me an email nicky@twelvepr.co.uk or call me on 01608 495012.

To read the original research about trust click on this report title: “The Authenticity Gap”.