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  • Writer's pictureLarry Washington

Be simple. Become known.

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

The last thing you want is for your business to be known as a “Jack of all Trades” because you always get stuck with the “Master of None” part.

We see this in the sustainability world a lot, in good and bad times — communication with everything thrown in: “this product is organic and made with renewable energy and we give to the Nature Conservancy and treat our employees great so you’ll be healthy, save money, enjoy your job and save the world!”

Yes, even the targeted messages of our digital communication becomes overwhelming and unwanted very quickly leaving audiences turned off.

Well, let’s take a step back for a second and look at the target of our communications.

They’re people.

Not color-laden pie charts or graphs that look like EKG readouts.

People. With emotions that are many times impossible to track. Even with all the analytics and targeting possibilities digital media affords us today, we still forget that it’s the foundational message, delivered to real people, that matters most.

The last thing any normal person needs, in good times or bad, is a ton of confusing facts they have to labor through. Sure, it seems logical that if you present more you get more but in sustainability communication the reverse always holds true. More data and more jargon just confuses people making it harder for them to place sustainable values at the center of their purchase decision. You’ll given them just enough information to confuse the daylights out of them.

Be known for something.

When everything in the life of your audience is becoming more complex, your message and your sustainable focus should become more simple. Be singular in your efforts by finding the one thing you can be known for. The one sustainable action that can define who you are. That will go a long way to creating a positive reaction. A complex message in complex times makes you very easy to pass over. Be simple and become known.

We’ve all heard the KISS (“Keep It Simple Stupid”) principal. Whether it’s wisdom on display or just a sneaky way to call someone stupid (As I’ve always suspected!), it’s good advice. A singular message will be much appreciated and accepted. It’s the only way to market sustainability in good times and bad. That is if you want people to pay attention.


Targeted digital media doesn’t change the need for a strong singular position or message.Your audience will never be completely automated. They will always eventually defy data with their actions.In sustainability communication you need to be great at one thing. Move from being ALL to being KNOWN.

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