PR is an essential activity for any business, but it can be easy to get tunnel vision and engage in typical, formulaic PR activity.
New client information, award shortlists and new hires are the bread and butter of PR ventures, but there are other avenues to explore that are much more satisfying.
Green PR is one such avenue, and it comes with a multiple benefits.
What is Green PR?
Green is an adjective frequently applied to things that are perceived as morally or socially conscious, and ‘Green’ PR is no exception.
Green PR is essentially promoting the less corporate, more ‘feel-good’ aspects of a company’s activities.
It can take the form of publicising the recent charity work a company has been involved in or could be promoting the efforts a company has taken to become more eco-friendly.
The benefits are that the company gains brand awareness whilst raising its profile within a community – all the while genuinely benefitting society as a whole.
Many companies undertake community and charity work as a means of giving something back to the public, but these activities aren’t always taken advantage of from a PR perspective.
A business can also adjust the scope of these efforts according to the scale of the activity.
So, for some ventures simply notifying the local and regional press will suffice, whereas others can tie in national media outlets or specific foundations and organisations related to the type of activity.
How is it done?
Green PR is usually no harder to implement than simply creating stories around the good things a company gets up to already and then distributing them.
However, if the company isn’t already taking part in PR-worthy activities then there’s no need to worry as supporting the community is as simple as it is rewarding.
Here are a couple of examples of what companies could get involved with.
Support a charity
Charities rely on the goodwill of others, and companies are in a great position to help make a difference by supporting those in need.
Regular donations are obviously a wonderful contribution, but actively taking part in fundraising events is more beneficial to both the donor and the charity involved.
This is because it supports their ability to publish their activities and gives the donor a new opportunity to promote their own.
Not only that, but supporting a charity can reinforce a company’s ethical element, brand values and trustworthiness – all of which are hugely attractive to both customers and prospective employees.
Supporting a charity also gives a great opportunity for business networking, as other similarly motivated business owners and employees are likely to be involved.
A good example is Safestore, who’ve pledged to support the disability charity, Scope.
The company has branches across the UK, and each regional store is competing against each other to fill the most sacks with clothes etc.
By doing this, they not only put in a huge effort for the charity, they benefit from being able to publicise their efforts in each regional location, multiplying the exposure.
A company’s green credentials are important, not just from an environmental perspective but from a public relations viewpoint as well.
There’s an ever increasing pressure for businesses to recycle and to make socially conscious decisions, and it’s actually becoming easier for companies to make efforts towards becoming more responsible.
Many local councils offer comprehensive recycling solutions, and there are other options available for modest fee.
However, to really make a great story from going green, businesses are likely to need to go above and beyond the usual level of activity.
Is there any way the business could use renewable energy sources, such as installing a small wind turbine? Are solar panels a possibility?
Working towards becoming more carbon neutral is certainly a newsworthy story that can be sent on to any local media and trade publications.
Recently, Nissan’s Sunderland plant has applied for permission to build a solar farm on its premises in order to offset some of its energy consumption and save a large amount of Co2 emissions.
The permission hasn’t even been granted yet, but local media has covered the story nonetheless.
Support a community
Supporting the local community is a fantastic way of raising the profile of a business whilst giving something genuinely beneficial back.
Similar to supporting a charity, helping out in the community has the chance to benefit a large number of people whilst also making for a great story and strengthening company values.
The benefits don’t just stop there either, as staff are also likely to reap positive benefits.
Working together on a voluntary project can increase your staff’s morale and also help to create a closer working relationship – all of which makes staff more efficient and happier.
Hudgell Solicitors provide a great example of a business giving back to the community and changing lives in the process.
The Hudgell Solicitors Trust offer grants every three months to individuals and groups, and the aim is to support grassroots level activities.
These activities may relate to health, sport, education or other worthwhile causes.
Getting involved in socially conscious activities can reap big rewards and open the door to widespread coverage that goes beyond publicity and serves to reinforce brand values and make a business more attractive.