• Transform magazine
  • May 18, 2022

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How brands can empower people to care about nature

Peter Johnson & Emma Chandler Opinion

Peter Johnson and Gemma Chandler, managing director and content director respectively at Creature and Co., discuss how the climate crisis has further stoked the flames of the nature crisis. But what’s the difference between these two inseparably linked, growing emergencies?

The climate crisis refers to dramatic changes in our average weather patterns, due to a rise in global temperature levels caused by human activity. This period of rapid change, if left to escalate, will cause catastrophic warming, droughts, and dangerously high sea levels.

The nature crisis is a direct fallout from the climate crisis, which is causing a mass unbalance in the natural world and damaging the fragile ecosystems that we depend on for survival. From the devastation of forests, peatlands and mangroves resulting in the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide, to the destruction of wildlife and loss of rich biodiversity, the nature crisis must be addressed.

“The natural world is my ultimate passion – it’s something I go on (and on, and on… about!), probably slightly too much. Nothing for me has ever been more creative than nature. The first time I saw the beautiful texture and patterns of an undulate ray in the waters off the south coast of England, it blew my mind. And watching in awe as two penis-fencing flatworms battled it out on BBC’s The Mating Game – it reminded me that nothing is as surprising as nature!

To help empower change before our natural world sees irreversible damage, we are calling on brands to start thinking beyond doing less harm, and more about how to make positive contributions.” – Peter Johnson, Creature & Co. managing director.


Using a narrow focus on the nature crisis could provide differentiation in your brand narrative and an opportunity to stand for a cause that will drive affinity and loyalty with consumers.

From introducing recycling processes to carbon offsetting – do you really know the impact your current, or proposed, actions are having? Could they potentially be doing more harm than good for our natural world? For example, there is little benefit dedicating resource to a carbon-offset scheme where only a single species of tree is being planted tens, hundreds, or millions of times over, reducing biodiversity and taking away from the natural environment.

Creative winners will be the brands who are brave enough to challenge norms and challenge customers to change their perceptions. Gemma Chandler here underlines the ways your brand could start communicating about the nature crisis to empower consumers to take action.

 

  1. Find your focus

The nature crisis is a huge topic, covering many different habitats, species and problems. While it’s tempting to take a stand on them all, it’s best to find the specific angle that makes sense for your brand.

What would fit best with your brand story? Do your products use scents or flavours derived from nature? In that case, you might want to focus on supporting pollinators. Are your products made largely from paper-based materials? Then perhaps you could focus on reforestation. Whatever your area of focus, make it one that works to boost your brand’s reason for being, rather than distracts from it.

 

  1. Walk the walk

It’s all very well championing a cause and encouraging your consumers to act, but it could feel disingenuous and hypocritical – to say the least – if you aren’t seen to be taking action yourselves. Consider making your business more inherently nature friendly. You could reform practices at physical locations like offices, warehouses and stores by switching to nature-friendly cleaning products, installing green spaces that encourage bees and butterflies (even urban locations can do this with a patch of green roof, wall or planters) and using organic, local, seasonal produce for your canteens/communal office snacks.

Further to this, engage your employees! Set up educational visits to local wildlife reserves and community days where staff play an active role in restoring or caring for local natural spaces. All these activities will give you brand stories that you can use to communicate your cause further!

 

  1. Inform, inspire and empower your audience

Use your influence and reach to educate your audience. Don’t assume they know what the nature crisis is, or how it differs from the climate crisis – start from the beginning and include all the key facts: the what, where, how and why.

Break the information down into bite-sized chunks to keep it digestible, and while you shouldn’t downplay the seriousness of the problem, aim to maintain a positive tone that keeps people feeling optimistic that they can make a difference. Highlight inspirational examples of where positive change is being made and provide direct actions individual consumers can take to help, too.

 

  1. Consider collaborations

Who could help you gain traction on this issue, and help you become known for it as a brand? It could be an NGO, charity or an individual who’s known for their work in this space. Partnerships can bring credibility, expertise and focus to your communications, plus could provide tangible action opportunities too, like initiatives that your consumers can get involved in.

 

  1. Utilise your channels

Consider the best formats and channels for your nature crisis comms content. Could a short video series work, or an infographic, an interactive story or perhaps a combination of all these, housed within a digital hub? Consider where you’ll drive the best reach and engagement. It’s unlikely to gain much traction staying hidden in the footer of your corporate website but perhaps you’ve got a particularly active audience on Instagram.

Consider the timings and placement of your comms, too. Could Tweeting in the middle of the latest Attenborough documentary be an apt moment? Could printing messaging about it on your (currently) un-recyclable packaging feel a little incongruous? Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to link this topic back to your brand and use the opportunity to demonstrate your efforts in this area.

Finding the right purpose that authentically fits with your business can help create innovation and by threading altruism seamlessly through every aspect of business, your brand could ultimately profit from purpose. But more importantly, brands hold the power to create a real change in consumer behaviour throughout global markets, leading to the collaborative problem solving.

Our top five ways to build a narrative for your brand around the nature crisis are a great way to kick start your journey. If you’d like to find out more, or receive additional advice on how to inform, inspire and empower your consumers, our door is always open for a free, informative chat. Get in touch today at hello@creatureco.co.uk