Do your purpose and mission resonate with your customers?
Emerson knows that many of its customers in the food retail industry are trying to meet sustainability goals, and refrigeration is one place they can make a difference at the facility level. Emerson has become a thought leader in conveying the latest environmental regulations surrounding this topic. They go out of their way to compare the pros and cons of alternative refrigerants to those with high-global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Customers know that global, federal and state regulations are steering the industry away from HFCs and toward lower-GWP alternatives and want advice on which to choose. Emerson not only has thought leaders who are extremely knowledgeable on the topic and communicate this information to customers, but the company also develops products which help their customers to meet these environmental requirements. That’s action behind those core beliefs — while making the world better.
Conversely, clothing company H&M says it’s being sustainable, but has been called out for greenwashing. The company touts its in-store clothing recycling bins and sustainably sourced collections. However, research shows that only 35% of their donations are successfully recycled. And the majority of that is for carpet padding, painters’ cloths or insulation. And only 0.7% is used within H&M’s garments. Because their efforts don’t seem genuine, they don’t resonate with customers.
There are also companies that outright fail to support their value statements. One example is from US Bank, whose value statement had been that employees should “do the right thing”. But in 2020, one of their employees was fired for doing just that. The former employee had brought a customer who was stranded at a nearby gas station $20 after learning the paycheck he had deposited was on hold and he was unable to pay for gas. The bank employee’s manager was also fired for approving the trip, because call center workers are not allowed to meet with customers. You can read an opinion column here, but suffice it to say that no good deed went unpunished in this case. The online backlash to US Bank did not paint them in a good light, especially given their value statement.
So when making claims toward sustainability or any other social cause, be able to back it in a way that matters to your audience.