April 9, 2021 - Brittany Garlin
Earth Day marketing campaigns always carry special meaning for environmental and climate change awareness. April 22nd, 2021, will be the 51st Earth Day celebrated across the globe. Businesses worldwide get involved in digital events and activities and strive to get all customers and clients included. Earth day activists and climate warriors use this day to raise awareness on issues like global warming, oil spills, deforestation, pollution, and toxic waste disposal. Some also fight tooth and nail to advocate for animal welfare and prevent the extinction of animal and plant species.
Since the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, Earth Day has been celebrated online through digital media and marketing. Brands and businesses worldwide strongly advocate to prevent excessive carbon footprint and reduce the pollution and plastic waste dumped in oceans. These brands push for sustainable solutions to co-living and spread information and awareness to mobilize people and take corrective measures and steps.
In 1970, United States Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day as he was deeply disturbed by the oil spill of 1969. He helped create a federal agency to help deal with environmental policing and conservation issues, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Within 20 years of the announcement of Earth Day, nearly 140 countries were following suit. The United Nations had its first Earth Summit in 1992. This Summit tackled issues of environmental protection, biological diversity, climate change, and socio-economic development.
As the United Nations and the United States started pioneering the climate change policy, many countries took active participation. Several countries have placed severe anti-pollution, anti-dumping measures on businesses and industries. With the rise in awareness, Earth Day still holds prominence amongst hundreds of thousands each year. Now, more than a billion people follow Earth Day.
Earth Day is known as one of the most significant civic events in the world. It is crucial to raise awareness among climate change deniers, lobbyists who wish to fill their pockets, oil companies that illegally dump waste into the ocean, and many more. Earth Day has successfully brought together millions of people and created a joint movement for environmental protection.
Earth Day is entirely voluntary. It is not politically driven and is only environmentally based. While there is a lot of government pressure to observe Earth Day and follow strict norms, it remains one of the world’s most significant independent ecological movements.
The majority of the people observing and being an active part of climate change are wholly civilian, without any further ambition apart from maintaining and preserving the world’s ecological balance and stopping pollution and dumping.
Companies and brands have to adjust according to the changing needs and views of customers and stakeholders. Since social media and digital campaigns surrounding Earth Day have become prominent globally, brands have had to up their game and follow stricter norms since their customers hold them accountable for the environment. Most consumers today are very concerned about the environment and the carbon footprint businesses leave. Companies that do not follow environmental norms face plenty of backlash from customers and may also lose their existing base.
Earth day marketing campaigns are now run wholly online. As mentioned earlier, digital marketing plays a crucial role in the spread and awareness of environmental protection. Companies use earth day to launch their environment-friendly image and build goodwill among clients and customers.
Let us look at some earth day digital marketing campaigns and ideas.
The written word is still a compelling method of getting the point across. Blogs can effectively raise awareness, give information, add anecdotes, and help drive digital media popularity. Content still rules on social media. Written blogs have a casual and interactive writing style but help get the message to the masses very efficiently. Blogs written by influencers and eminent people can help bring popularity to the cause. Most digital marketing strategies focus very strongly on written content creation and publishing. Earth day marketing campaigns start a month in advance and continue spreading the word for nearly a fortnight after earth day.
Like written content, videos, explainers content, short films, and ad films, they also positively impact people’s minds. Earth day videos and movies concentrate on environmental awareness, water conservation, recycling, the importance of reusing natural resources, and the protection of plant and animal life. These videos and snippets are created to make them viral so that they are easily shareable across multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In, etc. Videos tend to leave a substantial and lasting impact on people’s lives. It is also an excellent form of communication for people who do not have the time to read lengthy written content.
Apple created a short film in 2020 called ‘Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth’ released on AppleTV+ and focused on a 7-year-old boy learning all about the planet. It was adapted from a book by Oliver Jeffers and had Meryl Streep’s voice-over in the narration. Apple has effectively changed the narrative from an information-only based perspective to a description via a short film. Inspirational stories like these inspire people to start talking about climate change.
Last year, NASA launched educational resources that have created awareness and inspired thousands of children and adults to take a progressive step towards preventing climate change. They launched interactive student lectures and science activities with downloadable stories, articles, and posters.
Earth Day Network is directly affiliated to Earth Day and has been instrumental in year-long activities, events, and campaigns to drive environmental protection. They also set up online challenges as Earth Day approaches. This year (like last year) is a digital event that focuses on preventing ecological destruction and climate change. For 2021, the Earth Day Network has three days of summits, interactive online lectures, speeches, discussions, and seminars focused on environmental literacy, regenerative agriculture, reforestation, citizen science, and many more.
Last year, National Geographic took to Twitter to announce activities leading up to Earth Day with the hashtag #NatGeoEarthDayAtHome. The activities were meant for the countless people confined to their homes during the pandemic. They also launched the first Instagram-enabled augmented cover that comes to life with projected climate data of 12 cities for the year 2070. This live augmentation acts as a precautionary tale for Instagram users with projected data if there is no reversal of climate change.
For the Earth Day marketing campaign in 2019, The New York Times showed a video log report of the warming seas’ effect in the Galapagos Islands. This ad campaign, ‘The Truth Is Worth It: Witnessing, ‘ went viral on social media. The 30-second clip was beautifully made and edited to show the results of global warming. They found the sea lions dying, fish disappearing, birds becoming infertile, seas warming, and a looming evolutionary threat. This video ad film got more than 850,000 views on YouTube and was shared across social media channels.
Donating to charitable organizations always work in favor of large and small brands and businesses. Donations are also a great way to spread the word about a social cause and create awareness to others that may also contribute. Customers can also choose to contribute to the same cause or belief. Not only does this create awareness, but it also acts as an excellent way to show support on Earth Day. Most people prefer charities and not-for-profit organizations supporting biodiversity conservation, environmental literacy, and animal welfare. Some companies also like supporting charities that work toward extinction prevention.
Many eCommerce businesses have Apps that they encourage users to download. In 2018, gaming app Pokemon Go added Earth Day Rewards for Clean Up drives to pick up trash. The game rewarded players who showed up and participated in 68 cleanup sports and events worldwide. These rewards were available till the end of April, and Pokemon Go included augmented reality in the App to make the experience extra visual for gamers. While not as popular as it was when the game was launched in 2016, Pokemon Go still has a loyal fan following more than 1 billion downloads.
Companies should collaborate with local wildlife and forestry departments to create engagement about a topic. Beer brewing company Anheuser-Busch has a period each year where they stop brewing beer and can clean, safe drinking water for disasters and emergencies. They collaborate with the National Volunteer Fire Council and have helped support the relief operations across Texas, U.S. They also team up with the National Forest Fund on Earth Day to create awareness about the importance of planting trees and preserving groundwater.
Since Earth Day is personal to each brand with its message, some generic tips would keep the marketing campaign specific to a single cause. Businesses that support multiple causes should finalize one environmental cause for Earth Day and maximize all efforts to create awareness. Promoting numerous causes may confuse the minds of followers and customers.
Companies that operate in the Business-to-Customer (B2C) sector can also invite In-App discounts for customers who buy ecological products from their App on Earth Day. For vegan businesses, restaurants, retail stores, and more such companies, offering special discounts to customers who only order vegan food, do not request additional cutlery, or purchase eco-friendly products can be a powerful incentive and motivator.
Businesses should considering requesting an eco-warrior to champion the Earth Day cause on live chat and reels. Doing this gets many likes, popularity, involvement, quality engagement, and more followers towards the cause. It also helps solve questions and queries that people may have and can help generate more interest.
Most companies offer employees a chance to do voluntary work in schools and universities to educate children and students on the importance of sustainability and preservation. For Earth Day, these employees can advocate sustainability and showcase the work that has been done by the business to help sustain and improve the world and its resources. It is essential to broadcast these environmental activities live on social media for Earth Day. Interactive webcasts, interviews, and games should also be hosted as a part of the learning process to create environmental literacy.
Earth Day for most companies is a day to show the world all the good they have done for the planet. Marketing campaigns should revolve around the company’s brand image and goodwill while strongly advocating environmental protection and preventing natural disasters, climate change, and water waste. Once people see the positive changes that the marketing campaigns have brought on, they will advocate for greater ecological responsibility and hold your company in high regard.
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