In this post, I’ll tell you exactly how I used Christmas to communicate sustainability, why it worked, and how you can use it to build trust with your customers and stand out from your competition.
The best part? Your business becomes even greener while being cost-competitive, scouts’ honor. (7 min.)
I know, I know… It’s too early to start with Jingle Bells.
Except, it’s not. You’re running a company that’s making the world better while turning a profit. Utilize the holiday season to promote sustainability.
I know you are busy creating an impact on the world, so here’s a 7 min read on using Christmas to grow the trust of your customers and thereby spread the sustainable spirit.
- I made a to-and-from card for Christmas, which had information about recycling on it
- It solved a problem (always lacking to-and-from notes to put on presents) and gave a non-invasive hint about recycling
- The cards were made of 100% biodegradable paper and are clean enough to eat
- This cradle-to-cradle paper builds trust with your audience/clients because it shows that you take your role as a green professional seriously
- Building trust with audience and clients, makes them talk about your service/product or cause because they can relate – Therefor, as a green professional you win market shares by making small sustainable choices
- If you want cradle-to-cradle Christmas product to build trust between you and your audience and get a leg up on your competition, now is the time to start planning (more tips at the bottom of this post)
The story – Using the holidays to promote sustainability
I was recently cleaning out my drawers and found this card. I made it two years ago, and it’s been sitting in my drawer as a memorabilia since. It was one of those gut-feeling ideas that I knew I had to run with.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always missing the little to-and-from cards you stick on presents at Christmas, meaning I have to resort to, um, alternative ways of writing people’s names on gifts. It’s fun if you do it once, awkward if you do it twice, and it turns out grandmothers remember that kind of thing.
But what if the to-and-from cards had a little something extra on them?
I called our designer and had the layout made faster than you can spell ‘Christmas cards’ backward. Then I got them printed as business cards because it’s an easy standard to work with, and it’s fairly cheap.
I left little piles of cards in public places where a steady stream of people would pass by, throughout city hall (my workplace), as well as in cultural hubs and libraries.
Here’s the backside.
Your Danish might be rusty, so allow me to translate.
Remember, there’s a new recycling scheme in 2017
For more information see Skidtergodt.dk
The cards were a big success and even the chief executive, who is famous for being sparse with his compliments, said they were a great idea — I lived off that shoulder pat for weeks.
Why it worked
It turns out other people are like me and know there’s likely a gift for aunt Ida they forgot all about, and will be hitting the shops last-minute — and forgetting to pick up cards.
As a result people took the to-and-from cards. They were a tangible aid for a recurring problem.
The message on the back was non-intrusive and kind. I was not pushing a sale, or giving a speech about why to recycle. Instead, I was merely reminding them, ‘Hey, there’s a new thing coming up, and this is where you find more information.’
Take a closer look — green to the bone
I forgot to mention something about the cards. They’re made out of 100% sustainably produced, cradle-to-cradle certified paper.
In short, this means there is no soil depletion, the production is CO2 neutral and contains only safe chemicals (and as few as possible). This paper is so environmentally friendly you can eat it! I know, I tried*.
I learned about this product at a sustainability event where I was giving a talk about behavioral change and recycling. A representative from a company that makes the paper, was giving a talk about cradle-to-cradle products. The concept of toxin-free paper blew my mind, and I’ve been a fangirl ever since.
The name of the company? KLS PurePrint.
The second time I met Kasper, the aforementioned representative, he scolded me because the so-called green municipality I was working at didn’t have chargers for electric vehicles. Yep, PurePrint is a company that is green to the bone while delivering great products. Every. Single. Time.
They are Scandinavia’s only cradle-to-cradle certified printing company, and are one of only three companies IN THE WORLD with the certification.
They also serve as a personal inspiration on how to use sustainability to survive and thrive in changing markets. In PurePrint’s case, they used their green products to stay afloat in a diminishing market.
100 years ago, there were 2000 printing companies in Denmark. Now there are 80. PurePrint is one of them.
See, I told you I was a fangirl, and with good reason.
The best part? They are cost-competitive because they know the only way to stay in the game.
Building trust means loyal customers
Why am I raving about this? Because it’s products like these, that give us hope and builds trust.
Having Christmas cards or business cards made entirely of cradle-to-cradle material is a great conversation starter, and I for one have used it countless times.
“Here’s my card. Oh, by the way, this card is so cool, it’s made out of 100% compostable materials, and it’s so clean you can eat it!”
It’s also a way for you to send a powerful message to your audience:
You’re not just thinking of sustainability in your given service or product, you are practicing what you preach. You went that step further to make sure you leave nothing but your legacy behind.
Why are your customers buying products from you? Because they care about the environment, and they know we collectively have a responsibility to do better.
Imagine your customer opening a package from you and finding cradle-to-cradle certified paper or compostable packaging. No chemicals, no heavy metals, no microplastics.
Imagine what that experience feels like for your customer, when he is already purchasing from you, a green company?
What is your customer going to think about you? How likely are they to buy more products from you and spread the word about your brand?
These products are cost-competitive, but you win customer loyalty, and thereby market shares. You can even use these products to document your work with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
It’s a triple win. Your customers are happy, you expand your customer base and sales, and most importantly, you ease the pressure on natural resources.
Stand out from the competition
I know you are busy tending to your primary product or service, as you should be, but bear in mind that you amplify your brand and the trust between you and your customer when you go the extra mile.
Think about it, your customer has a business card or greeting card from you — that they can eat!
Then they meet your competitor, who hands them a shiny business card that’s clearly not sustainable.
What’s happening in the mind of your customer at that moment? I’ll tell you what’s happening: They’re looking at the shiny card, thinking;
‘Well, it’s pretty, but I’m sure it’s full of chemicals — I definitely shouldn’t eat it.’
There’s your leg up. Now regardless of what your competition says, that card is going to be a reminder that you share the values of your clients. Your competitor doesn’t.
For me, the tipping point was learning that 1/3 of fast food wrapping in the EU contains dangerously high levels of fluorinated substances, which has been linked to all kinds of immune system issues, like cancer.
They don’t break down over time, meaning they just accumulate in you.
These were even found in muffin forms. I made muffins for an 8-year-old’s birthday party, so learning about this research changed my shopping habits DRASTICALLY.
If you can honestly tell your customers that your packaging is 100% free of fluorinated substances, that awesome. But compare it with the fact that your competitors offer a 1 in 3 chance of dangerously high levels of it fluorinated substances, where will your customers go?
This doesn’t have to be just paper or packaging. Look at your products, your uniforms, your electricity — if you dedicate yourself to making small, but sustainable changes in your company, you can set yourself apart from the rest of those in your field. And let’s not forget all the sweet karma points you score for simply making the world a little bit better.
Now is the time when genuinely green professionals can make themselves stand out, by being firstmovers.
Get on board, and make Christmas greener
If you want to get on the cradle-to-cradle train and showcase your commitment as a sustainable professional, read on.
SomethingGreen works with content and copy from a sustainable behavioral change angle. This means we write anything promoting green actions.
From web pages, and newsletters, to company greeting cards, we’ve got your back. We also do graphic design and project management.
And of course, we use only cradle-to-cradle certified paper for our printed materials.
Here are some things we’ve worked on:
- Business cards
- Gift cards and greeting cards
- Annual reports and strategies
- Booklets on recycling
- Stickers for recycling bins (not cradle-to-cradle, sadly)
So get in touch and let’s make you stand out from your competitors while making the world just a bit better.