Five tips to effectively build your ESG campaign

All organisations need to effectively communicate their ESG initiatives and successes, to build trust and credibility with stakeholders, and drive sustainable value creation over the long term.

Shareholders, customers, employees, and other key organisational stakeholders want details on how your organisation is implementing ESG action, making a positive social impact, and considering climate change and environmental issues.

Companies that can clearly articulate their strong ESG performance have more attractive investment opportunities, are more resilient to market shocks, better equipped to mitigate risks, capitalise on opportunities arising from ESG-related trends and regulations and outperform their peers financially in the long-term.

There are numerous ways you can effectively communicate your organisation’s ESG proposition and develop a campaign to promote this proposition among key stakeholders, including:

Conduct an ESG communications audit

A fundamental step in campaign planning is conducting an audit of communication activity that reviews any existing or past ESG campaigns to pinpoint areas for improvement. Organisations should consider how their ESG messaging aligns with their current overarching corporate strategy and objectives, assess their approach to ESG reporting and disclosures, identify opportunities for more effective stakeholder engagement, and consider what materials need to be prepared to support a new campaign.

Develop an ESG communications strategy

To progress an organisation’s ESG campaign, a holistic ESG communications strategy that aligns with the company’s overall business goals is essential. The strategy should include a detailed analysis of key stakeholder groups and targeted messaging and engagement approaches that are consistent and tailored to their interests.

The communication strategy should also include a content calendar for ESG-related communications, a framework that outlines the roles and responsibilities of each business division in implementing ESG campaigns, and metrics and targets for measuring the effectiveness of the ESG communications strategy.

Create compelling ESG content

The culmination of any sustainability campaign is in the creation and delivery of engaging content that effectively communicates an organisation’s ESG strategy, performance, and impact. ESG content must be both authentic and transparent – avoiding greenwashing and based on real evidence.

The content must be tailored to the material issues of key stakeholders and delivered in the media forms that resonate with them most.

Global sportswear giant Nike has a dedicated website for their Move to Zero program, which details the steps they are taking to achieve zero carbon and zero waste contributions to the planet, outlines their 2025 targets, their materials with less impact, and their circular solutions for production and a product care guide.

Complex information can be simplified with the use of infographics or videos, and the most engaging content embraces storytelling to demonstrate an organisation’s ESG proposition in action, through thought leadership articles, case studies, and practical examples.

Organisations can also consider developing a unique brand identity for the campaign that visually communicates their company’s sustainability initiatives.

Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia is renowned for its dedication to environmental stewardship and social activism, and communicates its ESG proposition through initiatives such as its ‘Worn Wear’ program, which promotes garment repair and reuse, and its support for environmental causes through the ‘1% for the Planet’ initiative.

Engage across various forms of media

To amplify the campaign across multiple touch points, organisations must develop a proactive and highly targeted communication program that demonstrates the value and relevance of their ESG proposition to external audiences and media. Cohesive campaigns that combine traditional and digital media engagement are critical, and organisations need to incorporate a media engagement plan within their overarching ESG strategy.

This media plan should outline relevant third-party channels for leverage, suggest current media themes that align with their ESG campaign, and indicate specific tactics and objectives to achieve coverage objectives.

Evolve ESG tactics over time

Evaluation is the vital final step in any campaign, and organisations must ensure they evolve their ESG tactics based on feedback. The metrics and targets outlined in the ESG communications strategy are valuable indicators of the success of a campaign, but organisations need to ensure they update their campaign approach to reflect any changes in context.

As sustainability research and policies continue to evolve, organisations may need to refresh their branding and messaging to maintain currency, sooner than planned in initial timelines.

How can we help?

Our team of senior communication professionals are experienced in providing strategic advisory support to corporate, industry and government leadership on effectively communicating ESG commitments and activities, and building comprehensive ESG communication campaigns that articulate your ESG proposition and drive long-term success and delivers value to all stakeholders.

Connect with Group Executive Director, Corporate, Andrew Buckley today.