By Matthew Yeomans
Environmental awareness, biodiversity, sustainable sourcing and diversity. You may be surprised to hear that these are just some of important sustainability issues major consumer brands talk with their “fans’ on Facebook.
The potential for brands to be sustainable living thought leaders through Facebook became clear as we researched Sustainly’s new Big Brand Report - a new piece of research to understand if the world’s biggest Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies, including Nestle, P&G, Coca-Cola, General Mills, PepsiCo and Unilever - are as committed to communicating sustainability at a brand level as they are on their corporate web sites.
We've trawled through the Facebook pages of 195 major brands, going back six months to see if and how they talked sustainability to consumers. What we found was a little sobering for anyone who believes the companies are truly committed to sustainability consumer behaviour change.
The main takeaway for our research is that just 74 out of the 195 use Facebook to talk about sustainability issues. Admittedly those 74 potentially reach 304 million Facebook users - a big audience for sustainability messages - yet even that impressive figure has to be put into perspective. The Facebook audience for four brands alone - Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Dove and Nescafe - make up 50% of the 304 million.
While our research found there’s room for improvement overall, we also found a good deal of emerging best practice marketing that could lead the way for truly effective sustainability communication. Brands like Tide and Quaker Oats along with McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are demonstrating how a commitment to social media engagement along with strong storytelling can make sustainability issues come alive for consumers - exactly the marketing alchemy companies need if they are to encourage meaningful consumer behavior change.
You learn more about the Big Brand Report at Sustainly
Matthew Yeomans is the founder of Sustainly, a media consultancy covering the issues, risk, innovation and storytelling of sustainability communication