How to Communicate B Corp - Panel Discussion


May 15, 2024

For all existing or aspiring B Corp’s - if you’re wanting to effectively communicate your Certification, integrate B Corp into your comms strategy or even just wondering who to tell first, this panel discussion, featuring experts in impact, has you covered.

This journal article is taken from the “How to Communicate B Corp” panel hosted by Co-Founder and Director, Natalie Dean-Weymark. Here's what a few of our favourite B Corps in the biz- Pics Peanut Butter, Boody, Harvey and 4 Pines Brewing Co - have to say 👇🏽

Q: You’ve recently been certified as a B Corp. Who do you tell first?

Annaleise Alpert ~ 4 Pines Brewing Co

From the 4 Pines perspective, the journey to becoming a B Corp was really spearheaded by our Founder. I spoke to a colleague who had worked alongside him at the point when he found out about B Corp, who apparently said it was like stumbling on a secret society of businesses that do great stuff.

It's not so secret anymore! And I think it's amazing that we're all here sharing what it is to put that certification forward to consumers in the best way and learn how to do that. 

We began with an internal audience first so that passion from our Founder spread to the leadership team and got the internal team on a journey to pursue certification. As the business grew and more people came on board, our employees really acted as advocates. To be able to speak knowledgeably and confidently about what it means to be a B Corp, and to feel that pride because it is a multifaceted multi-disciplinary achievement as a business to be able to carry that - the B Corp logo on packaging or products. 

So internal buy-in and awareness, understanding and comprehension was the first step but equally from there was a wider network of key internal stakeholders like our customers. 

Certification is an incredible point of difference! From our stakeholder's perspective, to partner with suppliers that are obviously elevating this idea of using business as a force for good.

Kate Robertson ~ Pics Peanut Butter

Our internal stakeholders are the most important people for us to inform and get on board at the start, but we also focus on continuously involving them and making sure our internal team stays really tight and aligned with their vision. This B Corp month, we did a customer-facing push, especially on social, which is one of our most important marketing platforms. The majority of our efforts were actually recognising staff who are doing great work across the impact areas internally. So, I think it's not a set-and-forget at the beginning.

Q: Who is doing a great job at integrating B Corp into their marketing and comms and why?

Stephanie Audino ~ Boody 

We always love AllBird’s marketing and their comms because of the beautiful connection of words and imagery - it’s relatable and fun, but also just really easy to understand. Simple but engaging.

Simon Smallchua ~ Harvey

We love Bank Australia. They only recently became a B Corp, and their approach was internal. The way they did that was really intentional and thoughtful. They communicate the impact and the problems in the world in a way that's really inspiring. They're attracting a lot of customers as a result of that positioning. They have great imagery of beautiful habitats and projects and talk about the environment a lot. But they also do a lot of stuff with inclusion. People and culture are in the DNA of who works there and how they treat each other. They just have a really integrated way of talking about impact and being impactful!

Annaleise Alpert ~ 4 Pines Brewing Co.

Intrepid Travel has beautiful comms in market. They really elevate the prominence of B Corp on their advertising in a way that still looks really balanced and beautiful, with obviously the dream that they sell off those amazing travel experiences. They link it through to their purpose, where they're looking to bring positive change through the joy of travel. It just has a really nice synergy. That's the essence of what it is to be a vehicle using business as a force for good resonates so strongly with their proposition.

Kate Robertson ~ Pics Peanut Butter

I am a big fan of some small Kiwi brands like Kowtow whose marketing communications are extremely consistent and really hammer home their values. By 2025, they're eliminating all plastics from all their products. The Founder often appears in Q&A style videos and does a great job of highlighting the groundwork as well as the more polished result.

Q: What do you see as the role of brands to educate their customers?

Stephanie Audino ~ Boody 

Acknowledging that becoming a B Corp isn't easy. It's something that you just don't get and forget about. It's something that you have to work really hard for! That's a really beautiful moment, teaching the consumer that, as a brand, you have to keep improving. It's our role to help customers make better decisions. Buying from B Corp means that the business you're buying from is a brand that cares. Our role is not only just saying it for B Corp month or for Earth Day, but reiterating that message on lots of different touch points constantly. 

Kate Robertson ~ Pics Peanut Butter

Going the extra mile to actually educate and enter into a conversation with your consumers is one of the things that a lot of B Corps actually do really well, as opposed to companies that greenwash and just want to simplify everything.

Q: How do you think we communicate B Corp certification without overwhelming our customers? 

Simon Smallchua ~ Harvey

What bugs me is these large FMC brands who advertise they’ve given $40,000 to plant some trees - and aren't we great? Yet, they're spending a million dollars on ads. To me, B Corp is the opposite of that - it’s complex, detailed, nuanced and rigorous. Not pretending, not faking it. 

Stephanie Audino ~ Boody

We always choose to work with B Corp brands. I think the partnership part is really important because it reiterates that we're all in it together. It helps to not feel so overwhelming for a customer. You essentially can say that lots of different people are trying to make an impact here and it's not just an easy solution.

Q: How often do we speak about B Corp Certification?

Kate Robertson ~ Pics Peanut Butter

As often as we can. Our community and environmental initiatives form one of our key comms pillars. Whenever we talk about those projects, whether that's to do with packaging waste, our homegrown peanut trials or even the community donation programs being caught as continuously relevant, we make sure we weave our certification into that conversation. Whatever room we're in or whatever channel we're speaking on. The B Corp movement and ethical brands have a synergistic relationship. The stronger the movement gets, the more impact it will have, and the bigger the benefit will be to the brands taking part! It's up to us to support the movement, help grow it and make people understand the power of supporting companies that are working to create a more equitable and regenerative future.

We live in a competitive world where many customers do care about the sustainability of our products. We need to be regularly updating our engaged audience and those people who are further down the funnel, especially to make sure that they're in the loop and help to either convert or maintain their status as raving fans of the brand, because for us and our customers as a peanut butter brand, obviously taste and texture is extremely important, but the why behind the brand is the reason we hope people will continue to stand by us for years to come.

Q: Do you think that B Corp certification informs your customer’s purchase decision?

Annaleise Alpert ~ 4 Pines Brewing Co.

I think different categories have different levels of consciousness and consideration in what's on their mind when they're making a purchase decision.

From a 4 Pines journey, we've had information housed on our own channels for consumers to guide their way there and learn more. I think we're on a journey we are already communicating in a less passive way. 

We're centering our communications on purpose and environmental impact initiatives now more than ever! We've got 2 simple content pillars - good beer and good stuff. I think it’s informing broader decisions. We're in a wider portfolio of brands within the Asahi group, and we are the only brand that is really leaning into elevating purpose credentials in our comms. We do really believe that it matters to consumers and while it may not be the main driving conversion factor for beer purchasing right now, we think that it will continue to be of great importance. It will only grow in terms of its level of influence. We're leaning forward, maybe a little bit ahead of the trend. We're really confident that it's something that our consumer base feels passionate about and will continue to feel passionate about into the future.

Q: If you’re a B2B, service-based business, how do you think B Corp reflects on who chooses to work with you?

Simon Smallchua ~ Harvey

For Harvey, the impact is core to what we do. It's actually one of the key reasons that people want to work with us, which is unique. I know that in lots of B2C industries especially in heavily regulated industries, there are more requirements to have high compliance on sustainability, environmental credentials, and supply chain ethics.

All these things are just like they're not even an option anymore. It's just rules which will rapidly increase. 

B Corp is ahead of that curve and is about being able to proactively be prepared for what the new things might be. 

Q: How do we get the older generation to care about B Corp? 

Stephanie Audino ~ Boody

We use a tool called Green Story, that helps us pull information about bamboo itself etc. We try to utilise a lot of actual data to help support outcomes. We're very strategic with our flows and the marketing that we send to different customer segments. We actually find that we do speak to a lot of the older generation and find out older customers quite enjoy our content about sustainability. The younger customers, of course, care about it, but they also are probably more price-conscious. 

Q: How can we talk about being a B Corp without sounding ‘shouty’?

Kate Robertson ~Pics Peanut Butter

It's really important to have fun with it if it fits with your brand! When we communicate about sustainability, we keep it light-hearted and so we will continue to speak to our important issues with that same tone. We're going to aim for it to be entertaining

and we also have to make sure that the reports and the fine print are publicly available to back everything up for the people who do want to do a deep dive. Otherwise, there's no reason why you can't use humour and liberty to stop the scroll and deliver your message.

Stephanie Audino ~ Boody

It's all about having fun with it as well. It makes it easy to digest. There are lots of people involved in the business of becoming a B Corp, we like to show that. There is a lot of showing behind-the-scenes content which has been really successful! We let people into our design room and show them all the workings. I think that's a really nice way to do it without being wanky. To show that becoming a B Corp, there are lots of different people involved who truly do care. We often like to show our production manager, who talks about the Certification, progress, and how hard it is. We get the HR manager talking about it. I think that's a nice way to show the team behind it because it makes it show a real team effort. There are so many people involved. It's not just one person sitting in a corner kind of just typing away doing it all.

Q: Unless you are a sustainability-conscious person, people generally have no idea what B Corp is. 

Simon Smallchua ~ Harvey

We do a lot of research surveys of different brands. People don't know about it, but the latest research shows it's going up, which is good. The understanding apprehension of it would be lower. 

It's about talking about the actual, interesting details of the issues and the solutions. What are the problems and solutions? Be more authentic and honest, and don't pretend like you've got it all solved. We're trying to do this, and we're trying to do that, this worked, and that didn't.

Key Takeaway from Angie at B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

What really stood out to me is the invitation to bring joy, hope and optimism into our communications. We heard lots of references to fun, positivity and hope, which was really inspiring and the importance of leading with your own tone of voice and your own narrative on your impact storytelling. 

I think one of the amazing things that the B Corp framework gives you
is the confidence to know where you're doing well and the areas you can improve. Being transparent and
authentic about your work and having a credibility point to backup that you are doing the hard yards. It gives communicators confidence to go to market with interesting stories in a way that's meaningful to your business and to the broader consumer audiences.

Like what you read? Listen to the full panel discussion here.

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