Over the years, we’ve helped some of the UK’s most successful ethical and sustainable businesses use language more strategically, including Bulb, UpCircle, and most recently, Goodfind. So we’ve learned a few things about convincing people to make positive changes for people and the planet.

Last week, we hosted a webinar on the subject – which you can watch in full below.

Here are the top takeaways.

Keep it grounded

Phrases like “save the planet” or “help the environment” have become tired and meaningless. They make the problem sound too big to fix, and don’t relate to people’s real lived experiences.

Instead, you need to meet people on their level. How can you frame the issue you’re seeking to address in a way that relates to people’s everyday lives, their personal cares and concerns? Examples that feel close to home hit harder – the Mum’s For Lungs campaign is a great case in point.

Show, don’t tell

No one likes being told what to do by a brand, and so hitting people round the head with a message doesn’t work. Showing them that it works does.

Tell a story where your customer is the protagonist. Show how happy they are using your product or service, how it easy it is, how it’s made their life better. This gives people the agency to come up with their own ideas – “I saw this thing and I thought, I can do that.” Then, they’ll be much more likely to tell other people about it.

Don’t preach

Unfortunately, ethical and sustainable brands are still shaking off the preconceived notion that anything to do with caring about people or the planet is inherently “worthy”.

Again, a lot of this stems from people not liking being told what to do. The trick here is to combine those real, tangible benefits with a tone of voice that doesn’t make people feel guilty. Perhaps you temper your serious mission with an unserious tone. As long as it’s authentic to your brand, a distinctive tone of voice can really help you stand out.

We’re always looking to work with more businesses and organisations that are changing the world for better. If that’s you, get in touch and let us know how we can help.