Different messages for different audiences
The ‘green message’ is a message of change and transition to a sustainable lifestyle and future; it is a message that seeks to persuade the audience that their current lifestyle has an impact on the environment and on others. This persuasion needs to be effective and timely, but how?
It has been said, “vision emerges from dialogue” (Benn, Dunphy & Griffiths, 2014, p. 301). When this is about sustainability, the dialogue has to be understood as something different from chatting or conversing, but rather it should be seen as active engagement with the others. When talking about green matters, the message will likely need to reach a very diverse range of people. Different people bring with them different beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. These all need to be considered before crafting and sending the content of our message, which will need to be tailored to the audience. As a result, accurate research should be conducted to gather as much information as possible about the target audience, to then develop an effective program. Unfortunately, this aspect is often overlooked and green messages risk not reaching their intended audience. Or they may be disseminated by the wrong messenger.
Another crucial factor is the provision of feedback on the green initiative. What needs to be communicated to the audience, at both the individual and community levels, is the progress of the program or initiative. Feedback on the impact of sustainable behaviours plays an essential role in the adoption and maintenance of green business practice.
An example of this would be for the business to be transparent about its fashion supply chain, to build trust with consumers, admit any problems and show how it is trying to improve. To demonstrate how workers and the environment are better off through the changes that have been made would increase consumer confidence and commitment to support the business. Tell the good story behind the product. It might not be perfect, but it will show that the business is making real changes to improve how it does things.
Think about the most effective ways to communicate a business’s sustainable activities and consider whether there are risks associated with promoting green credentials.
© RMIT University 2017