Taking your sustainability message to the masses through creative technology
While the sustainability issue is generally well understood by consumers and associated topics such as the challenges and opportunities of the push towards net zero economics are rapidly gaining traction, awareness of how these issues are surfaced within specific sectors varies greatly. Consequently, while societal acceptance of the need to become more sustainable has increased massively in the last couple of few years, as the world readies itself for net zero we don’t yet fully understand exactly what that looks like either within our day-to-day lives or commercially within specific business sectors.
The opportunity around EV cars, and consumers’ accrescent awareness and acceptance of them is a case in point: the automotive sector is one where the levels of consumer education and attitudes have changed massively over a very short period, where the benefits are well understood and the limitations and cost implications accepted by many. These levels of awareness and acceptance make today’s automotive industry markedly different from other sectors in terms of its sustainability roadmap, and very different from itself just a decade ago in terms of any number of factors (major players, lead times, product KPIs, refuelling logistics, ways to purchase etc).
The impact of sustainable production and carbon-neutral consumption on the housebuilding industry is, by contrast, an area far less understood by consumers. The volume of transactions and the length of a full buying cycle relative to other industries has often meant in the past that property lags behind other sectors wherein a faster turnaround and higher volumes afford consumers greater familiarity with the market and brands more chance to learn about and interact with their customers. It’s likely that the sustainable space offers one more example of this: our Sustainability & the Homebuyer report, reported that 59% of homebuyers surveyed were not aware of government legislation around owning a sustainable home.
There’s clearly work to do here to educate consumers about the sustainable benefits of new build homes but what role can creative messaging play, within the context of mass marketing, in the customer journey? How can we capture public engagement with the broader issue for the particular benefit of our sector; capitalising on the casual consumption of documentaries like the Green Planet to move people into a mindset in which they truly understand the influence and impact their consumer behaviour has on the world around them, and value the major part that our sector can play in improving their footprint?
It will no doubt take more than a solid brand position and a fancy 30-second video on YouTube to help educate and shift attitudes over time. Where broader cultural movements must be captured at their point of intersection with specific products, mass-market media rapidly becomes inefficient: brands and their agencies alike need to think on a deeper level about their customers’ online behaviour, and consider how we can best use data signals and the latest tech to deliver key creative messaging at optimal moments to engage with audiences during their path to purchase.
This scenario is a great example of the gap we sought to plug in the creation of our Performance Creative division. By developing our use of creative tech to offer forward-thinking clients our Rich Media Creative Management Platform (CMP), we can deliver multiple ad variants to a spectrum of customers, based on various data signals and targeting segments via our own proprietary rich media creative management platform.
But why rich media, why not just run a static banner if it’s easier and faster to build? Although partly true, rich media ads have been proven to deliver a greater Click-Through-Rate. In fact, according to an article published by eMarketer, they can outperform standard banner ads by a whopping 267%, recapturing more than enough in improved performance to offset the additional cost of creation.
Clicks aren’t an end in themselves of course; also consider your objective of education and awareness. Our software allows us to serve advert units that are better designed for telling a story and delivering richer, more engaging experiences at a larger scale, meaning brands can make a bigger impact with their creative and reach more of their target audience, without all the extra cost and time it might normally take to develop and produce several rich media formats.
Iteration is also valuable here. While evergreen, universally true statements absolutely have their place, for many consumers the most worthwhile lesson concerning sustainable new homes are location and house type-specific features and benefits. With multiple formats required of each execution, at least one execution needed per outlet, potentially additional variations based on house type or dozens of outlets to service, the volume of banners required can exponentiate massively. Using the right tech partner can take a lot of the hard work and the cost out of this exercise and allows us to create huge suites of banner creative that don’t take weeks and don’t cost the earth (no pun intended).
Whether you choose to run a specially crafted native article written by one of many inhouse expert content writers, or a rich video interstitial page takeover, the race is on to secure the attention of in-market consumers with sustainable messaging that appeals to their situation and their needs. It’s time for this industry to tell its sustainability story and there has never been a better time to do this through the use of high-quality digital assets that attract attention, stop thumbs, generate higher engagement rates and ultimately help to change attitudes.