36}86 Entrepreneurship Festival

KG Nashville at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival

There’s no rest for the weary when launching a new office in an exciting new town.

After beginning the week hosting an outstanding storytelling panel at our new We Work office in East Nashville, we continued the week-long celebration of Ketner Group’s Nashville Office launch by modering a great conversation at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival about how startups can win press and influence customers.

The room was packed with a host of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, marketers, PR people, executives and more for the first session at 36|86. Kirsty said the atmosphere at Ole Red in Downtown Nashville was “electric, packed full of people, and a great overall experience.”

Panelists

The panelists included Ben Kurland and Lisa Roberts, experts with years of experience in entrepreneurship, marketing, and PR between the two of them. Every attendee took away valuable tips and tricks to help take their business and career to the next level.

Ben Kurland (Left) and Lisa Roberts (Right)

Ben, a Nashville local, spoke on his experience generating press on a local scale. He highlighted the value of creating good relationships with reporters and having a strong network in your area. He shared two key pieces of advice when interacting and working with reporters, the first being: “Be friendly, come prepared, and make the job easy for the reporter.” His second piece of advice: “Don’t ignore the power of Twitter; don’t be another buried email.”

Lisa is an Austin native and provided a great perspective on how to make the most of your PR and use it to the best of your ability. She offered valuable advice and personal experiences on how she uses PR to generate leads, create brand awareness, and differentiate her brands in the eyes of consumers. Lisa’s advice to entrepreneurs and growing businesses: “think about your business opportunities as headlines. If it’s a headline no one cares about, it’s probably not a good priority.”

Welcome to Nashville

The festivities are only just beginning here in the Music City and we can’t wait to share all the news and surprises with you. We are so excited to join the 615 Family and make an impact on the Nashville community. Based on our experience so far, we expect that there are lots of good things in store for us in Music City, USA.

Kirsty Goodlett, Director, Ketner Group Nashville

Employee Spotlight: Kirsty Goodlett, Director, Nashville

Get to know Ketner Group’s fearless leader in Nashville as we open our newest office in her favorite city.

Tell us a little about your background with KG.

Kirsty Goodlett: I met the kind folks at Ketner Group seven years ago when I was a client of Ketner’s while working for a retail tech company, Digby. There, I found Ketner to be a true extension of our marketing team, and I really relied on our partnership to create successful campaigns and achieve our goals.

When I moved to Nashville five years ago, I joined the team part-time while I additionally ran Seamless Marketing, the company I founded to help small businesses with their marketing efforts. This February, I returned to Ketner to open our Nashville office, an opportunity so amazing it has at times felt like a dream.

What new opportunities are available to you and KG now that we have an office in Nashville?

Nashville is a wonderful city! Being here provides us access to a whole new set of B2B tech companies to partner with. One thing I love about Nashville is that it’s a great city for relationships, and a lot of those are built over good cups of coffee.

Additionally, Nashville is known as the “Athens of the South” because of the large number of universities and colleges in town. I believe the city will set us up for success from a hiring perspective.

How would you describe Nashville in comparison to Austin and New York? 

Great question! I could go on for ages, so I’ll work to be brief.

Austin

Weird and fun, Austin is a city that welcomes folks with open arms and features a tech scene that is constantly innovating. Austin is a super hub for our headquarters because it’s a true representation of the companies and employees we attract.

New York

New York is one of the biggest cities in the country. Business gets done quickly and things are always changing. Being in NYC gives us access to great media contacts and influencers.

Nashville

The friendliest city in the country, Nashville has a diverse, growing economy that attracts people from all over the world. Nashville will provide opportunities for us to grow in new markets and ensure a lovely quality of life for our team. Not to mention, it’s the best city to host clients. Who doesn’t want to come to Nashvegas?!

What is your favorite part about living in Nashville?

My favorite thing about Nashville is the people. Everyone is collaborative, kind and really supportive. That attitude makes opening an office here ideal, people are excited about your efforts and look to help you through challenges. I am so grateful for all of the people and communities that have shown up to help us prepare for and then celebrate our launch! 

What are the top three spots in Nashville everyone should visit?

Marche: hands down my favorite restaurant in town, Marche is a French classic with lots of local flair and the best food.

Robert’s Western World: you can’t come to Nashville without going to a honkytonk and Robert’s is a classic, old-school joint with the best music and plenty of locals in addition to tourists—a rarity these days.

Monell’s: not only does Monell’s have my favorite fried chicken in town, but it also features the added bonus of sitting you family style so you can get to know your neighbors.

Ketner Group Panel on Storytelling in Nashville and Austin

Nashville Office Hosts Storytelling Panel

On August 26, as part of the week-long celebration of our Nashville office launch, Ketner Group hosted an outstanding all-female panel around storytelling and brand building. If you’d like, you can view a recording of the panel on our blog.

With more than 60 entrepreneurs, marketers and communicators of all ages were in attendance, we met fascinating people with unique backgrounds and perspectives on brand building and business development.

A very special thanks to our panelists Nicole Delger, Kelley Griggs and Brittney Oliver for lending us their time and expertise. A sincere thank you to all who joined us – we hope every attendee learned a little something that makes their story easier to tell and more powerful for their brand. 

The storytelling didn’t disappoint. We loved hearing about how an unknown author was able to secure a publisher for her book after Brittney wrote a Fast Company article about it and put her on the map.

Meanwhile, Nicole discussed how her reliance on telling stories has helped Musgrave Pencil Co., a more than 100-year-old business, develop a modern brand voice.

And for all of the PR pros looking for some insights into the secret sauce… Kelly spilled the beans on how journalists identify stories that will resonate with their audience (it’s all about personal connection to a story’s presentation and impact).

Our engaged audience asked great questions and kept the conversation focused on driving and measuring value – the real reason we spend so much time on creating our stories.

We also want to extend a very special thank you to the We Work in East Nashville for hosting, Perfectly Cordial for making spectacular cocktails for our guests, and to Goodnight Loving Vodka and Cazadores Tequila for donating the spirits.

We can’t wait to continue growing our Nashville office alongside the thriving Nashville business community.  We wish we could do it all again next week!

Ketner Group Communications opens office in Nashville

Ketner Group Communications Expands With New Office in Nashville

Third location of Austin-based PR agency marks the second office launched in 2019, and will be made official with presence at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Aug. 27, 2019 – Ketner Group Communications, a public relations, marketing and communications firm serving clients in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., today announced its continued geographic expansion with the opening of its office in Nashville, Tennessee. As the second satellite office to launch in 2019 – following the announcement in early 2019 of its New York City office opening – Ketner Group’s Nashville presence positions the company to work more closely with the area’s emerging business-to-business (B2B) technology players.   

“There’s a reason why Nashville is listed in Forbes Top 20 for both job growth and business, and it’s because of the emerging technology scene and supportive atmosphere that’s ideal for building game-changing companies,” said Jeff Ketner, president, Ketner Group Communications. “Nashville is a great place for startups and small business owners, with a good deal of support in place for entrepreneurs to accelerate their visions. The city is also attractive to national companies looking to launch new regional headquarters and Nashvillians who are returning to their roots after career stints in Silicon Valley or other tech hubs. In launching our next office location in Nashville, Ketner Group is committed to being a part of the growth, and we’re excited to play a role in telling the compelling stories coming out of these innovative businesses.”

“The growth Nashville has seen in the technology space has been significant in the past five to 10 years, but we are seeing an explosion now that CKE, Nissan and Schneider Electric have opened their U.S. headquarters here, and Amazon has announced a new office with 5,000 high-paying jobs,” said Greg Buzek, founder and president, IHL Group, a Nashville-based retail technology analyst firm. “As a long-time resident, I believe we are uniquely poised for continued growth as a result of our friendly atmosphere, creative pool of talent and sheer geographical space available for business.”

Ketner Group’s Nashville office is led by Kirsty Goodlett, who made her return to the agency earlier this year to begin laying the groundwork for the new location. Goodlett first worked with Ketner Group seven years ago as a client, and later came on board to serve as an Account Manager with Ketner Group for two years. Now as Director of Nashville, Goodlett will continue to lead several key accounts while developing new business relationships in Nashville’s flourishing tech scene.

Tomorrow at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival, hosted by Launch Tennessee, Goodlett will be joined by Lisa Roberts, founder, Great Catch Consulting, and Ben Kurland, co-founder, BillFixers, to speak on a panel titled “How to win press and influence customers.” During this session, Goodlett, Roberts and Kurland will speak from their experience working with startups, entrepreneurs and seasoned tech companies to provide attendees with best practices for generating media pickup, incorporating PR into the overall business strategy, and crafting stories that resonate.

Four Things I Wish I Knew Before My First PR Internship

This blog post was provided by our intern, Andrew Stonebarger

Well, I’m roughly halfway through my summer at Ketner Group Communications and the internship continues to surprise me. I’ve already learned so much during my time here at KG. I’m sure the rest of the summer will be no different! Looking back, if I could talk to myself before I started as an intern, I would give these four pieces of advice. So, without further ado, Four Things I Wish I Knew Before my First PR Internship.

Be Open to New Industries

Internships are all about growth. Every day is a chance to improve and a chance to better yourself. However, growth results from putting yourself out there. If you aren’t willing to step out of your comfort zone, take a risk, and try something new, you are holding yourself back from reaching your full potential.

One way to step out of that comfort zone as an intern begins before you even accept an offer. Don’t be afraid to apply for internships that force you out of your comfort zone. In my intro blog, I write about my passion for sports. Naturally, when I accepted an internship in retail technology PR, I was nervous. How would I last a whole summer working in an industry I had no previous experience in and no real knowledge of? Turn’s out, the industry had so much depth and intrigue that I would end up liking it.

You will never realize how interesting an industry is until you dive head first into it. By stepping outside of my comfort zone and taking an internship in retail technology PR, I found a new industry that I enjoy. Retail technology plays a role in every purchase you make and the industry continues to grow and change every day. With innovations and inventions pulling the industry forward, you never know what’s in store.

There’s a world of opportunity out there. Some of it may seem scary, and that’s because it is. Trying something new is scary, but by stepping out of your comfort zone and taking that challenge head-on, you are setting yourself up for growth and success. Who knows, you may find your new dream career or your newest passion from it.

The CEO’s Door is Always Open

As an intern, you’re low on the totem pole. So, what are the odds you get to interact with the big-time executives, directors, and CEOs? To my surprise, the odds were good; I had a meeting planned with the president and founder of Ketner Group – Jeff Ketner – within the first week. One of the biggest things to look for in a strong business is accessibility to senior leadership. The chance to interact and work with company leadership will go a long way in your growth as an intern. 

Whether it is an in-depth, hour-long meeting or five minutes to share a coffee, take advantage of every opportunity you get to interact and work with your senior leadership. Those executives, directors, and CEOs can make a world of a difference. They have been in your shoes before, their mentorship can offer you so much. Whether it’s about work or life in general, these are the people you want in your corner and rooting for you.

Another tip I’ve learned: don’t be afraid to speak up in staff-wide meetings to share your ideas, but do so sparingly. You don’t want to come across as a know-it-all. Share ideas you know add value to the discussion. Share your ideas that help solve problems, and be someone who helps add to the solution and makes an impact rather than a bystander. This will help prove to the entire company that you care about the situation, want to make a difference, and have the skills and knowledge to solve problems and generate effective solutions.

If I could go back, I would tell myself not to be afraid of senior leadership, but to use them as a resource to build you up. They usually have decades of experience, tons of advice, and countless stories to share. Taking the time to meet and interact with them will go a long way toward your growth as a PR professional.

Good Research Skills Go a Long Way

It doesn’t matter what career field you go into, research will play a role in your day-to-day responsibilities. You may not work in a lab running science experiments, but good research skills go a long way towards success in a PR internship. Everyone working in PR needs to have strong research skills to communicate effectively in a variety of subjects.

Before you can succeed in an internship, you have to get an internship. Researching background information on the company you are applying to, their clients, and their methods will be essential in your PR internship hunt. This will allow you to tailor your resume, cover letter, and interview to that specific company. I promise companies will notice these efforts and reward you for it. This may seem obvious, but doing so will go a long way in helping you stand out as a candidate.

Even after you’ve secured the internship, being able to conduct effective and comprehensive research is very important. If you stepped out of your comfort zone and took an internship in a new industry, your research skills will help you make a smooth transition. Being able to conduct effective research will allow you to become an expert on a subject quicker than anyone else.

As a PR Intern, you are preparing yourself for the responsibilities and day-to-day tasks of a PR professional. Even as a PR pro, research is important. It helps you keep track of new and emerging markets and is essential if you want to create and contribute content to your publications. It is important to develop these skills over time – the earlier the better. Improving your research skills as an intern will go a long way as you become more advanced in the field.

Be Open About Your Weaknesses 

I’ve said it a few times in this blog, but I’ll say it again, internships are all about growth and developing your skills in your desired career field. I’ve been asked in every interview to date, “what are your weaknesses?” When you answer this question, be honest. It will go a long way toward developing your skills. Employers take that question very seriously, and if you’re hired, employers will give you a chance to improve and work on those weaknesses.

The best employers will listen to your weaknesses and set you up with the opportunity to improve on them. For me, one of my biggest weaknesses as a PR Intern was my writing. I was open and honest about this during my interview with Ketner Group and here I am writing blogs, bylines and press releases on a daily basis. Ketner Group listened to my weaknesses and tailored my internship experience to help me work on them.

If your employer isn’t helping you work on your weaknesses, they and you aren’t giving yourself the chance to improve and turn those weaknesses into strengths. Being open about your weaknesses is key to reaching your full potential and taking your abilities to the next level level. Being honest about your weaknesses demonstrates that you are introspective and driven. This transparency will go a long way as you improve your internship experience and develop your abilities as a PR pro.

My first PR internship has been an eye-opening experience. Looking back on the summer so far, I’ve learned so much and it’s not even over yet! There is always something to improve on and an internship is a great place to work on your craft. So going back to a couple of months ago, I’d let myself know that even though the first internship may seem scary, the lessons to be learned and the experiences to be had make it well worth it. In the end, I get to watch my skills and development as an emerging PR professional unfold.

Influencer Insights: Andrew Tull

Andrew Tull has been a staple in the Business Development and Start-up/ Entrepreneurship community for over a decade now. He specializes in technology solutions and focuses on integrating strategic business plans for sustainable company growth. He currently works for Tailwind Business Ventures where he helps to provide end-to-end technology solutions to real- world business challenges.  Before partnering with Tailwind, Andrew served in a variety of director and executive positions for companies such as, Switch Inc., Pragma Systems Inc., and more.

KG: What do you think are the biggest changes most impacting the tech industry in Austin?

Andrew Tull: An inability to attract, find and keep quality folks in key roles, most particularly product management, product delivery, and technical architecture and development roles.

KG: Where do you see the tech/startup industry in Austin headed 10 years from now?

Andrew Tull: I believe we will see a continued intersection of larger companies (Apple, Indeed, Facebook, Google) on the tech side. These companies will combine with a number of the key incubators (too many to enumerate) in town to drive forward an ‘Austin 3.0’ that will lead to a new wave of investing, as well as new industries coming to town. When you combine these tech companies and incubators with the massive growth engine that is US Army Futures Command, and the multi-decade significant impact that this group will be having, it speaks to a very bright future for the tech/startup industry in Austin.

KG: Who or what are you “rooting” for in the tech industry right now?

Andrew Tull: No specific companies – our team is focused on helping custom software development with a number of key industry players currently in Austin. I’ll continue to root for continued and sustained growth in a new and diverse set of industries and market verticals. 

KG: How do you most like to stay up to date on tech trends?

Andrew Tull: I’m blessed to be part of a number of startups, incubators, angel funds, and other groups that keep me up to date with the new tech trends happening in and around Austin. 

KG: When you’re not in the office, what can we find you doing? 

Andrew Tull: Spending time with my amazing family, running or volunteering with Texas Search and Rescue (TEXSAR).

KG: What’s the best piece of personal and/or professional advice you’ve been given?

Andrew Tull: Always, always, *always* lead with ‘how may I help you’?

How Public Relations Impacts Qualified Leads

This blog post was provided by Charles Dimov, an experienced marketing professional and one of our former clients.

As marketers, we know that communications and public relations are important. They are part of a sound marketing mix. It’s good for the brand and helps drive awareness. But, what is it doing for qualified leads and lead generation? Of course, we all understand that it helps. If someone has heard of your brand from a third party article, they are more willing to interact with you online. Wonderful, but that’s all wishy-washy qualitative stuff! Is there tangible proof that public relations drives qualified leads? As a convert, here is my story that answers this question. Spoiler – the answer is YES, it does.


Startup Struggles


For the past three and a half years, I have led global marketing for a small retail software firm, OrderDynamics. In all regards, the company was a startup with a serious challenge. Four years ago, it was a 40-person firm, spun off from a larger organization. It had no discernible market presence. For the most part, no one in the industry had heard of us. There was no significant brand presence, compared to several goliaths in the industry like IBM, Oracle, and SAP. The flow of inbound leads was sporadic at best. To approximate, we had about 30 inbound raw leads per month.

These were certainly not marketing qualified leads (MQL), nor sales qualified leads (SQL). The inside sales process was completely focused on outbound efforts (events, list calling, followup). To top it off, web traffic dropped 75% in the year following the spinoff. Sales thought of marketing as an unengaged team working on its own. In hindsight, this was by no means a picture of success.


Public Relations & Qualified Leads


Starting with a vision, and marketing strategy (content centric – inbound), we added a communications / PR plan to the marketing mix. With buyer personas in hand, we focused on creating high-quality content, and on an ongoing public relations push. For a fast start, we outsourced this expertise.


Publishing educational, non-promotional content on a consistent basis was part of the plan. Content included white papers, topic briefs, data sheets, brochures, webinars, podcasts and ground-breaking industry research (developed in-house).

Through these initiatives, we established an ideal platform for a blogging strategy, using SEO to catch the interest of ideal buyers.


Good content gave us a chance to drive press releases, provide media quotes, submit non-paid bylines to industry publications, offer guest posts, and even interview on podcasts. These third-party public relations efforts started driving an influx in inbound raw leads. On the marketing funnel, raw leads converted to qualified leads with a growing number of prospective customers.


Turnaround


After ramping up our PR efforts, page views grew from less than 6,000 per month to peaks just shy of 18,000 per month. More importantly, the marketing department grew inbound leads to as high as 400 per month. Over three years, more than 240 third-party industry publications referenced OrderDynamics. This in just over three years. Twelve of these were quotes in Forbes magazine, with one full unpaid article written about our research in the publication.


Certainly, the sales team was engaged, and excited. Consistent, high-quality content marketing – supported by a strong SEO blogging strategy, and solid ongoing PR – completely turned around the business. Sales and marketing were now working together to fill the sales funnel. Additionally, sales reps saw and appreciated the clear benefit of marketing’s contributions.


Proof in the Qualified Leads


You may wonder, did PR really provide sales-ready qualified leads? I wanted to know this answer too. So, we closely watched our inbounds in the stages in the sales process, in sales calls, and through our qualification process. Over the past two years, from close to 300 qualified leads analyzed, most were attributed to SEO (organic search), at 36%. We found the next largest category to be the ‘Direct’ sourced qualified leads, the people who directly typed in our website address, at 33%. However, as a small firm starting with an almost completely unknown brand, these sources must be largely attributed to our public relations efforts.


If there is any doubt in your mind – public relations does work! And there are results to prove it. For instance, solid public relations execution drove 33% of our sales accepted leads (SAL – qualified leads).

Don’t skimp on this part of your budget. Work with a professional, communications-savvy and well-networked team like Ketner Group Communications. They are experts at gaining media coverage for your company, which in turn drives leads. Our work together helped me completely turn around our marketing efforts and business. All in all, investing in good public relations management just makes good business sense!

Finding My Way: Andrew Stonebarger

This blog post was provided by our intern Andrew Stonebarger

Finding My Way to Austin

Hello everyone! My name is Andrew Stonebarger, and I am a senior public relations student at The University of Texas at Austin. I was born in Nashville, TN, but I grew up in Syracuse, NY. Fun fact about Syracuse: it is one of the snowiest cities in America with an average snowfall of 123.8 inches per year! After living in basically the tundra for 13 years, I knew I needed to go to school in the south, so I packed my bags, drove 26 hours and found my way to Austin.

Moving 26 hours away to go to college was a tough task, but I’ve learned a lot because of it. In my time at UT, I have grown as a person, just as much, if not more, than I have as an intellectual. In addition, I found such a unique campus atmosphere that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Austin is a one-of-a-kind place with an amazing balance between college town and metropolitan city.  It has truly become my home away from home and has helped me grow so much more than I imagined. This is a special city; it’s hard to imagine my life and college experience anywhere else.

Finding My Passions

My journey to where I am today as a public relations major wasn’t easy. I entered UT Austin as an actuarial science major. I found myself bored and struggling. In turn, I started taking new classes and I found myself in PR 101. I thought to myself, “you’re a good public speaker; this’ll be a breeze.” I was dumbfounded when the professors first words were, “if you’re here because you’re a good public speaker and you think that’s PR, you are in for a rude awakening.” My heart was beating out of my chest, but I stuck with the class and grew to love it. The class was confusing, but refreshing. As I took more classes, my passion grew and I found myself in a new major.

PR allowed for a sense of creativity that I hadn’t experienced before. Every problem in mathematics had the same solution with different numbers, but in public relations, every problem requires innovation that allows me to express that creativity. As I finish my college career, I look back and hope one day I can shed light on what PR actually is to younger generations. Eventually, I want to introduce communications to a high school curriculum.

Outside of the Office

Beyond academics and work, I have a ton of hobbies. I play for Texas Men’s Volleyball. This year we went to Denver for NCVF Nationals and finished 9th! Other than volleyball, I play chess and I still can’t beat my Dad so clearly I need to practice more. I also love the NBA and college football. If you want to talk Finals or Free Agency, I’ll tell you where every star is going to end up or if you want to talk college football, I’ll tell you why UT is winning The National Championship this year.

Finding My Way to Ketner Group

As the summer drew closer, my nerves were growing. It was April and I still hadn’t secured an internship yet. I had an interview with Ketner Group and just had a gut feeling when I finished it. The gut feeling screamed, “Ketner Group is where you should be this summer!” When I got the offer, I was ecstatic. I knew once that happened, this was going to be an amazing summer. I’m only in my first week, but I have a good feeling about Ketner Group. Finding my way here is a huge step in the right direction; I can feel it.

I’m so excited to get to work here at Ketner Group Communications. I know there is a lot of knowledge at Ketner Group and there’s so much I can learn. I have a great feeling about this summer and am so excited to get started!

Influencer Insights: Mike Troy

As editor-in-chief of Retail Leader, Mike sets the editorial direction for the publication. He focuses on providing business intelligence to senior retail and consumer goods executives to help them become more effective leaders and drive growth within their organizations. Mike leverages extensive industry experience and first-hand experience to manage content for the publication.

KG: What do you think are the biggest changes (technology or otherwise) most impacting the retail industry? 

Mike Troy: At a high level, retailers are attempting to keep pace with shoppers’ rapidly shifting expectations. Trying to stay on top of constantly shifting customer behaviors driven by new technology is impacting retail in a big way.

KG: How do you most like to stay up to date on trends?

Mike Troy: The best way to stay up to date is to read anything you can get your hands on. Read through press releases, research reports, 10-Ks, S-1’s, conference call transcripts and stuff my colleagues at EnsembleIQ write.  It is also important to learn from peers in the industry. I actively attend key industry events and listen to the thought leaders who are inventing the future.

KG: Where do you see retail headed 10 years from now?

Mike Troy: I have no idea. I’m not as smart as I used to think I was because retail is changing so fast. With technology constantly changing, it’s hard to say where any industry is going to be 10 years from now. The next big thing could come along next week or next month and ruin what sounds like a good prediction today. Directionally speaking, there are some well-established trends in place, but anyone can predict those.

KG: You must get thousands of emails a day with pitches and ideas (including from us!). Which emails stick out to you the most and why?

Mike Troy: I wouldn’t say I receive thousands a day, but the ones that stand out tend to be personalized to my brand. I’m more likely to notice pitches that make it clear the sender understands my style of storytelling.

When you’re not writing or setting the editorial direction for Retail Leader, what can we find you doing? 

Mike Troy: I’m rehabbing a house that is taking way too long and costing way too much.

KG: What’s the best piece of personal or professional advice you’ve been given?

Mike Troy: Tell the truth.

sustainability strategic messaging

Integrating Sustainability Into Your Strategic Messaging

This blog post has been provided by our intern, Katie Stone.

Earth Day is a special day to me. Not only is it a day that celebrates the Earth and its resources, but it is also my parent’s wedding anniversary. Though not intentional, the holiday seems fitting. Growing up, my parents taught me to respect the Earth through evenings spent watching nature documentaries and taking family trips to national parks. Now as an adult, I care deeply about the planet and climate change issues. Likewise, I know I am not the only member of Gen Z to think this way.

According to the 2019 Retail and Sustainability Survey by CGS, 68% of Generation Z shoppers have made an eco-friendly purchase in the past year. The survey also shows that Gen Z ranks ethical business as one of its top factors when making a purchase. Therefore, retailers who aren’t using eco-friendly strategic messaging are going to be abandoned by the up-and-coming generation.

Be Transparent About Sustainability

Before you publicly declare your company an eco-friendly one, do a quick analysis of your company’s current practices. If your company has made, or is currently making some environmental mistakes, get in front of it. Be open and transparent about past mistakes while directing your messaging toward the future. Detail your company’s plans to reduce or eliminate its negative effects on the planet through proactive digital media campaigns. When your company reaches a goal, use social media, press releases and other PR tactics to get your message heard. A strategic approach to eco-friendly branding will strengthen your brand amongst Gen Z and your other target audiences.

Include Sustainability in Your Strategic Messaging

Developing strategic messages will establish your company as a thought leader in sustainability. Spend some time developing key messaging that aligns with the messaging you already have. Test out what works and doesn’t work. Then, work with company spokespeople to get all of your strategic messaging consistent and include it in traditional and digital media.

When you identify the messaging you want to use, it is important that the messaging is laced throughout your brand. One post on social media using #EarthDay isn’t going to cut it anymore. Demonstrating your company’s sustainable initiatives year-round will give your larger Earth Day campaigns more validation.

Flesh Out Your Community Relations Initiatives

Showing is often more important than telling when it comes to environmentally friendly initiatives, as it proves that your company genuinely cares about the environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of possible community relations practices. Here are a few earth friendly community relations ideas to try in your office:

  • Incentivize volunteer work
  • Get your office to participate in #MeatlessMondays
  • Donate time and money to local environmental charities
  • Start a rooftop garden, or sponsor a community garden
  • Encourage carpools and working remote

When your company takes part in community relations activities, make sure you include it in marketing pieces. For example, highlight the activities in a newsletter or write a blog about the experience. Visual content is key, so make sure you get lots of pictures and video. You can use this content on social media and other branding materials.

Find Your Approach to Branding

There are many different approaches that companies can take when branding themselves as sustainable. To sum up, find what works for your brand and run with it. Looking to build out your strategic messaging beyond Earth Day? Send an email to [email protected] – we love to talk branding!