Archive for March, 2010

Sustainability 2.0

March 23, 2010

What could sustainability and social networking possibly have in common? A lot, as it turns out. It’s a combination that has recently captured the attention and imagination of the Paydirt team, as many of our clients are seeking new and innovative strategies to engage with stakeholders about sustainability.

With the dramatic upswing in online marketing campaigns over the past several years, it’s not surprising that many companies are beginning to “dip their toes” in social media. Social networking is the next marketing frontier, and many are looking to carve out a space as a pioneer in the burgeoning landscape. However, few companies have made the link between social media and communicating with key audiences around the issues of corporate and environmental stewardship.

So why is the link between sustainability and social networking such a natural fit? To start, both are fueled by the exchange of fresh, real-time information. The dialogue around both topics is constantly shifting and evolving. It’s not advisable for the average person or employee to try to “stay apprised” of the explosive growth and changes in either area. Instead, the best strategy is to engage in the dialogue and then look for opportunities to make a meaningful contribution.

In addition, successful sustainability and social networking programs are both centered on a platform of authenticity. The old model of “corporate spin” is now apt to alienate audiences instead of bolstering brand loyalty. Trying to control the message is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Honesty and transparency are now vital for fueling expansion and growth.

Although the lack of control can be terrifying, smart companies have taken a leadership stance by proactively initiating the dialogue and then shaping the conversation along the way. It’s true that some early adopters will falter or fail; however, today’s market leaders in the sustainability and social networking spaces are companies that dove in head first and have remained committed to that progressive approach.

Finally, both areas are nebulously defined and may always evade a corporate-friendly, clear-cut definition or silo. Coming of age in the conceptual era, sustainability is not constrained within the boundaries of one functional area or corporate department – it transcends disciplines and traditional skill sets. Similarly, by its very nature, social networking levels the “corporate playing field” by removing the former hierarchy of how individuals deliver, receive and respond to information.

Rather than devote hundreds of hours trying to define or control an inherently amorphous space, companies should create opportunities to use both platforms to propel untapped innovation. At Paydirt, we’re particularly excited about using social networking tools to educate and engage employee audiences about sustainability.

In the past, internal communications has often been limited to one-way conversations – anecdotes on the company intranet or newsletters. While important, we believe a multi-faceted, multi-media platform offers significantly more opportunity for forging meaningful connections. We look forward to exploring new solutions and invite you (our readers) to engage in the dialogue, too!

Take the Trash Out! Easy Steps for Reducing Unwanted Mail

March 8, 2010

Ever feel disgusted by the amount of mail you receive that automatically gets tossed in the trash? Did you know that 100 million trees are used each year just to produce junk mail?! Stop the vicious cycle of waste and aggravation by following these simple steps:

  1. Register with the Direct Marketing Association’s “Mail Preference Service” to remove your name from many junk mailing lists: https://www.dmachoice.org/dma/member/home.action.
  2. Register with similar service “Valassis” every five years: http://www.valassis.com/1024/Contact/contact_home.aspx.
  3. Cut back on pesky unwanted catalog mailings by registering with Catalog Choice: https://www.catalogchoice.org/signup.
  4. Tag junk mail “Return to Sender” and drop it back in the mail. It won’t stop the mail from being produced, but will hopefully remove your name from their list in the future.
  5. If you’re willing to pay a little money, consider joining www.41pounds.org. With a goal of reducing junk mail by 80-95 percent, 41pounds will contact 20- 30 direct marketing and category companies on your behalf. $41 gets you a five-year subscription and removes your contact information from almost all credit card or insurance offers, coupon mailers, and catalogs.