(Expansión) – In the face of how demanding the young generations have become, driven by their inclination to be increasingly responsible citizens and, in some way, lessen the impact of some of the most representative problems that we face at a social level, economic, political and environmental, a large number of companies have seen ESG criteria as one of the main elements in their communication strategy -mainly corporate, but also related to products-.
The foregoing as a way of declaring themselves responsible citizens, to captivate or retain their customers and consumers.
But what’s wrong behind this? In simple terms, nothing. As long as communication is not inclined to deception and the advertising regulations that exist for it, companies are free to structure and transmit messages around the topics they deem most convenient to achieve their objectives. They can range from increasing awareness of your brand, increasing your reputation and generating advocacy – consumer defense for the brand, caused by the drive for loyalty.
However, when considering ESG as one of the central pillars in the communication strategy, it becomes essential to carry out a deeper analysis of what it implies.
Mainly because, in many cases, what can mean a great achievement for a company, for its clients and consumers, can only be “the minimum that they would be expected to do in the development of their business”.
The foregoing has resulted in different stories in which the messages related to respect for the communities, the efficiency of resources, inclusion, equity, diversity, and the interest in being increasingly sustainable and sustainable have been nothing more than only things that for the new generations these companies should have done a long time ago -at least, in those that already have a long history-.
The situation becomes different for those businesses that are just starting out. With everything to win, they have the opportunity to convey the way in which their business is based -from the very beginning- on everything that users would expect from a brand.
This is by no means to say that communicating ESG achievements is not important. With 20% of users belonging to the Millennial and Z generations ( 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report ) seeing these criteria as one of the most relevant elements when deciding on one brand or another, even before personal events, of course there is a need to communicate. And, without a doubt, the messages become more relevant and build a better reputation as long as the organizations demonstrate, with facts, that they are going beyond what they should and should do as part of a community.
For the above, it is important to remember what, from my perspective, in order to become visible to consumers, brands should also look more seriously. That is, concepts such as FOMO – fear of missing out , by its name in English-, understood as the fear of being out of a trend. This trend has become increasingly relevant in the face of the immediacy and globalization presented by digital platforms and socio-digital networks.
For example, that a limited product is finished without them having tried it, that they cannot see an exhibition, that a video has gone viral without being able to comment on it. In all of them, the FOMO effect is caused by the impact it has on different areas of their lives. From a conversation with those close to them that they couldn’t have if they missed a show, to the need to satisfy some desire that was causing some feeling of frustration in their lives.
In terms of ESG , this formula could be materialized in the way in which the organization’s actions directly impact the community. In other words, giving users the opportunity to live, document and become amplifiers, all at the same time, of what a company’s actions generate in their lives and their communities.
This is where the challenge lies in communicating to the new generations, whom it is important to impact, not only because of the purchasing power and decision-making power that they are beginning to have -or the voting power in the case of political organizations-, but also because for many communities they have become a point of reference to influence the decision-making of other generations that precede them.
Editor’s note: Luis Ruiz has a degree in Communication Sciences by training – from the National Autonomous University of Mexico – and a consultant in strategic communication and public relations by training. In recent years he has collaborated in the development of corporate communication campaigns for large corporations at a national and international level. Follow him on . The opinions published in this column belong exclusively to the author.