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In Scope

Meet Our 2019 Research Team: The Digital Divas

To kick off the seventh edition of The Works’ 2019 Sustainability Reporting Trends, we asked our research team about this year’s findings and observations. Here’s what our digital strategy squad had to say.

A woman smiling.

Madi Lantz, Marketing Intern

What is your role on the trends research project?

My role is to analyze the use of digital strategies that companies in our sample use to promote sustainability. My observations are mainly focused on how companies promote their sustainability report on social media with things like imagery and motion graphics, but also emerging trends that are components of integrated digital strategies. These include things like open innovation contests, influencer campaigns, and experiential marketing.

What stands out to you most about the reporting you’re seeing this year?

Within the digital space of sustainability, I have seen a large number of companies offer Open Innovation contests to the public. These contests are focused towards finding unique, crowd-sourced solutions to sustainable problems. Many companies have linked their contests to their SDG goals/ targets. I think it is particularly interesting that companies in so many different sectors offer challenges to the public.

What don’t you see that you’d like in sustainability communications?

As sustainability communications continues to grow in the digital space, I would love to see continuing partnerships with influencers, who can help bring a wider range of people into the conversation. We saw some very smart partnerships – AXA worked with Serena Williams to promote issues like parental leave and work-life balance. She already talks about these issues on an ongoing basis, which made the collaboration feel authentic and natural. That’s when we think influencer communications really work.

What has been your favourite sector to work on and why?

Throughout this project, the Consumer Goods and Retail sector stood out to me the most. This sector showed a lot of promise for the future, as there was a strong uptake of emerging trends within this sector. I really enjoyed seeing recognizable names promote sustainability.

We’ve developed a few inside jokes on the trends team. Which is your fave?

sO InNoVaTiVe! We love seeing new, eye-catching, interactive and noteworthy features within sustainability communications. “Innovative” also seems to be the new corporate buzzword: you heard it here first.

 

A woman in a red shirt.

Kate Heron, Marketing Manager

What is your role on the trends research project?

I work with the trends team to define a number of the data points we look at across our sample. In particular, I look at visual communication, digital strategy and trends in social media. I also figure out how to package and distribute the research online, to try to reach a broader audience online with our findings.

What stands out to you most about the reporting you’re seeing this year

Companies are getting very strategic in how they engage a wider audience. Research has shown that people want to engage with purpose driven brands. But on social, we’re seeing that people don’t respond well to self-congratulatory social posts. This seems to be leading brands to partner with influencers and media outlets on editorial-style content that promotes their initiatives in a roundabout fashion.

What don’t you see that you’d like in sustainability communications?

The more I see it done well, the more integrated reporting makes sense to me. A lot of the issues that sustainability reporting seeks to address (social, environmental) are very dire – and present genuine risks to financial performance. Combining this information, for me, just seems logical.

What has been your favourite sector to work on and why?

It’s a tossup between Health Care and High Tech – they’ve often got huge budgets to work with, but also some ethical issues to confront like privacy. I really like digging into the tough corporate communications challenges. This is why I love looking at brands like Phillip Morris. Our research is agnostic. We’re here to look at what companies are saying and how they say it – not whether a company is inherently “good” or “bad.”

We’ve developed a few inside jokes on the trends team. Which is your fave?

Interactivity Catfish, for sure. Which is when something looks like it should be interactive (particularly in a PDF) but it isn’t! Why go to the trouble of making something look like a link or a button, when it isn’t. Oy vey.

 

The 2019 Edition of our Sustainability Reporting Trends and Best Practices launches in September.

Be sure to sign up for In Scope Digest to receive your copy. 



Madi Lantz

Madi has worked as the Marketing Assistant at The Works since 2018. She is in the final stretch of completing her Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management at Dalhousie University. She lives by the 3 S's - Social Media, Starbucks & Shoes


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