• Transform magazine
  • July 05, 2020

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Sustainability: Not a Message, THE Message

Fredrik Jansson (1)

With sustainability at the heart of social changes around the world, brands have been under increasing pressure to adopt echo-friendly ethos. Fredrik Jansson, chief Strategy & marketing/communications officer at Digiplex, writes about how the the company has transformed its entire brand and communications around sustainability.

As a company that provides the digital infrastructure behind some of the biggest brands providing online services to billions of people around the world, DigiPlex is at the heart of the rapid digital transformation we’ve all seen as a by-product of the COVID-19 crisis. We could have chosen to avoid awkward questions around the environmental impact of these digital services. Instead, we made the bold decision to put sustainability at the heart of our brand transformation.

Every digital action has a carbon-cost

Every selfie taken, every movie streamed and every social media like kicks off a technology process that consumes energy in a data centre. Even digital activities have a carbon cost. Streaming a movie has the same impact as driving a diesel car ¼ of a kilometre.

Sustainability now features in the marketing of tech businesses that recognise consumers, governments and NGOs will put them under increasing scrutiny for their environmental impact. But few have transformed their entire brand and communications to centre on sustainability as DigiPlex has.

Sustainability is the message

For us sustainability is not a message: it is THE message. Since 2016 all our marketing has been dedicated to communicating, educating and providing insight on the importance of environmental sustainability for data centres. The company overhauled its website, social channels, PR and marcoms outreach to focus on this one issue.

We could do this with credibility and authority because sustainability has always been at the heart of our purpose and is intrinsic to all our operations.  We have used 100% renewable energy for two decades. We have invented technologies that reduce our energy consumption and contribute to a circular economy: pioneering air-to-air cooling, designing an energy reduction algorithm and developing a concept that will allow over 15,000 apartments in Oslo and Stockholm to be kept warm using ‘waste’ heat from our nearby data centres.

DigiPlex has demonstrated unflinching determination to lead the industry and initiate discussion, action and change towards environmentally sustainable solutions. We have commissioned research, written reports, presented and spoken at events across the Nordic region and internationally, constantly reiterating the need for cleaner, greener data centres.

Sustainable brand impact

The bold decisions of 2016 have paid off delivering significant business results and winning awards including Silver for Best Creative Strategy and Bronze for Best Brand Evolution at the Transform Awards this year. DigiPlex saw 366% increase in brand awareness – reaching 56% among C-level audiences, the highest for any data centre company. These campaigns delivered a twelve-times increase in sales leads, 2,300% increase in media and 6,500% in social media reach.  

More importantly the whole industry is now waking up to the importance of this issue and joining us in talking about and acting upon this topic with their stakeholders. Our own research in 2016 showed that environmental performance was bottom of the list of purchase considerations. Two years’ later it had become the 4th most important consideration.