Ben & Jerry’s: How to Leverage Products and Services to Champion a Cause
Climate change is real. Beyond the scientific data sets demonstrating the impacts of environmental degradation on our planet, we are now seeing that trickle into the brands, products and services we all know in love. Most pointedly, recognized climate change advocate Ben and Jerry’s recently released its ‘Endangered Pints List’ — 15 beloved flavors in its roster that are at threat of disappearing due to increasing climate change impacts on sourcing, ingredients and production options.
What is so smart about this communication, is how the brand relates such a massive, complex idea as climate change to something its consumers know and love — its products. Making this connection makes it personal, and making it personal makes it meaningful.
Beyond the ice cream juggernaut, many global household brands are voicing real concerns and risks that our changing environment poses to the very sustainability of business in general. Heinz, Keurig and Coca-Cola are just a few of the companies identifying climate change threats to crops and supply chain and, in turn, product offerings.
When faced with these inevitable risks, what are companies to do? The opportunity to enact proactive measures, where possible, presents one option. UK Grocer Sainsbury’s decided to direct significant investment in helping repopulate bees, recognizing and monitoring the decline of bees and pollen as having a direct impact on its business.
So, what should your brand do when faced with dire realities of environmental and/or social injustice? A few key practices:
- Reframe complex issues in context of your product or service in ways that customers can not only relate to, but find meaningful.
- Be bold in addressing challenges, do not shy away from tough topics.
- Where possible, create a solution or a pathway to overcome the obstacle(s) — provide a glimmer of positivity.
- Give your consumers and brand advocates a role to play.