Earth Day Preparations: A Guide To Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Promotional Products

Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Promotional Products
As Earth Day comes around on 22nd April, marketing teams sprinkle new ideas into their roundtable discussions, and these ideas will necessarily include the angle of corporate environmental responsibility (CER).

What is Corporate Environmental Responsibility?

CER is a subset of corporate social responsibility (CSR), where companies try to show society that they are more than just a brand—also a benevolent medium through which community can be supported. CER is essentially the manner in which companies espouse various environmental causes through sustainable practices.

This is the foundation on which a consumer base is encouraged to believe in the goodness of your brand, and on which both brand and consumer can build a more responsible world. Consumers will make small changes in their day-to-day purchases based on your new ideas.

Why Choose Eco-Friendly Promo Products?

CER discussions will invariably veer toward eco-friendly promotional products i.e. physical products which have a smaller carbon footprint than the usual. These products can be imprinted with brand messaging, art, and logos to enable long-term mindshare within a community. Mindshare is invaluable to any brand especially when tangibilized through products that make a visible difference.

The promo product game is unique in its ability to target several aspects of the community. It is your job to know the rules of the game so that your brand can stand out within the microcosm of your competitors. Here we take you through several rules to keep in mind while you promote your brand using eco-friendly promo products.

#1 Understand the Consumer Preferences of Millennials & Gen Z

The two youngest earning generations are ones who have been brought up in a largely transparent world with high Internet penetration. Your brand will have to cater to the preferences and, make no mistake, their preferences will be characterized by a deeper awareness of environmental issues that have percolated mass media in the recent past. They expect sustainable practices from the brands they buy from, and you will want to remind them that your brand does its part through reusable, recyclable, recycled, and biodegradable products.

#2 Know the Different Types of Eco-Friendly Products

Broadly, there are 5 types of eco-friendly products:

  • Reusable: These products meet sustainability standards due to their durable nature improving on a disposable precursor of the product. For example, metal straws improve upon disposable plastic straws by reducing waste and increasing shelf life. Further, the repeated exposure of the product increases brand recall of logos and messaging.
  • Recyclable: These products meet sustainability standards due to them being able to be recycled after disposal, as material for new products. PET bottles are one such example that companies can distribute at conferences and trade shows for a quick impact. You can even set up a disposal unit marked for recycling purposes to drive home your point.
  • Recycled: These products are made of materials that have been recycled off previous recyclable products. For example, RPET backpacks are partially made of PET bottles in the above point! In the big picture, this reduces wastage and raw material extraction, reducing carbon footprint to an extent.
  • Renewable: A large problem with regard to sustainability practices in the waste disposal of non-renewable materials such as plastics. Plastics beget microplastics that pollute land, oceans, and freshwater sources, causing health issues in animals and humans. Renewable products are preferable, due to their waste being biodegradable and compostable. Examples of these are jute bags, wheat straw sunglasses, and bamboo cheese trays. Not only do they minimize pollution, but they minimize the use of dangerous plastic alternatives.
  • Long-Lasting: These products maximize brand exposure through prolonged long shelf lives and also minimize waste, material, and costs. Avoiding wastage is one of the prominent ways of helping the environment, over recycling and reuse. Some BPA-free stainless steel tumblers can last for as long as a decade, and this extracts the most brand marketing value possible.

#3 Use Digital Channels to Specify you Care

Your brand may be giving out promotional products for the benefit of your consumer base and community, but how do you know that they associate it with environmental responsibility?

Some products, while sustainable, are not always advertised as such, and the overarching ‘Care for the Planet’ theme may go over the heads of your customers. You have to ensure your target audience knows you are distributing eco-friendly products—and why.

Digital marketing channels solve this. Here are a few ideas on how to utilize your website, social media channels, and more.

  • Post-How-To videos on the usage, maintenance, and environmental impact of various products to create a sense of responsibility among your target audience. This could encourage them to use products in the most efficient manner possible and it will also minimize wastage.
  • Hold contests and quizzes themed on environmental topics leading up to Earth Day. Winners can be given free promotional products, some of which we mentioned before. Start a hashtag and persuade recipients to share selfies with their products. to like/follow your page first before receiving their product.
  • Make a video storyboard or social media calendar themed on how companies and consumers can minimize the negative impact on the environment. Discuss all the links in the consumerism chain—from manufacturing to distribution, to product lifespan, to waste—and how people can make a difference there.
  • Get feedback from your customers. The best way to understand what type of environmental messaging hooks target audiences is to ask them about it. These can be facilitated through polls and comments on social media, but they can also be petitioned for at trade shows, industry conferences, and seminars. Ask your clients what promotional strategies made a difference in their lives and what didn’t.

At Promo Direct, our well-established team will help you pick and choose the best sustainable promotional products to match your brand’s specific needs. Have a look at our inventory and contact us at the earliest to receive a quote for your bulk order.

Susan smith
Susan Smith has over 7 years of experience in the promotional products industry with a focus on digital marketing. She oversees the social media strategy for the company and manages product campaigns to build brand awareness. Susan can be followed on Twitter.