BE Blogs: A Voice for Responsible Business

As part of our sustainability pledge to discuss best practices openly and honestly, we share insights that allow others to effect change in their community. While companies have responsibility to drive change internally, we believe they also can add to their insights and impact by sharing their experience with others.

Come by often to read the latest news, subscribe to our blog via email or RSS reader. Even better, join the conversation and share your ideas on how business can be a force for good in your community and environment.

Get in the Game: Use Gamification to Drive Sustainable Action

Sep 27, 2011   //   by Bradley Short   //   Blog, Marketing & Communication, Technology  //  2 Comments

For many customers, green has lost a lot of its luster.  Yes, consumers care about the environment.  Yes, they reward good corporate citizens and punish bad ones.  And yes, sustainable companies often outperform the general market.  But mainstream America still has yet to embrace green practices as the norm.  How do we revive mass-market sustainability now that the “green party” is over?  How do we take green from niche to normal?

How to create behavior change:

Enter Gamification.  As explained in the video below, “gamification is the process of using game thinking and mechanics to engage audiences and solve problems.”  In simpler terms, gamification takes the same reward systems that make games fun and applies them to real life actions.

Games are designed to push the little buttons in our brains that signal rewards for certain behaviors (which is also why they’re so addictive).  If you can align your green product or service with that primitive desire, you’ll reap profits while we all receive environmental benefits.

 

So what does gamification have to do with sustainability?

Game mechanics can take an idea that is sometimes associated with guilt: green, and turn it into a competitive and engaging social activity.  What if “green living” turned from a culturally divisive lifestyle choice into a friendly competition?

 

How would this look in practice?

For this illustration, let’s use a public transportation company.  It could be a bus system, a subway; it doesn’t matter.  What if this PT system successfully designed an online game where users competed against their peers to earn rewards by utilizing public transportation rather than driving places?   Users would earn points by swiping their metro card, and by doing so, would achieve a higher status in their online world.  They’d compete on things such as pounds of carbon saved, or gasoline saved, or something of the sort.  Furthermore, they would be able to see the points and status of closely ranked friends, and the service would tell them how to “beat” the person directly above them, encouraging deeper engagement.

Of course there are environmental flaws in a system like this, but you get the point.  Soon enough, riding the bus isn’t about saving a couple of bucks on gas, it’s about beating your friends and becoming the winner…for now.

 

Now, come up with your own ideas!

Our example is enough to get the point across, but you all probably have much better ideas.  How would you use gamification strategies to drive your customers (or your employees) to green action?  And for a deeper explanation of gamification and its opportunities, check out the video below.    It might just make for the most interesting hour of your day.

 

Image used under Creative Commons from harrisonweber.

The Sustainability Secret that both NPR and NASCAR Know: Green Doesn’t Sell

Aug 22, 2011   //   by Bradley Short   //   Investors & Stakeholders, Marketing & Communication, The Environment  //  2 Comments

Very rarely does one get the chance to talk about these two cultural opposites in the same sentence.  But in different ways, they both know one fundamental truth.   Green doesn’t sell. 

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CSR Communication: How to talk to your customers about your good work

Nov 22, 2010   //   by Bradley Short   //   Blog, Company Culture, Marketing & Communication  //  1 Comment

You’re one of the good ones.  You’ve decided that you are going to conduct business in a socially responsible way.  You’ve begun taking steps to become a better company and you even started an official corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.  Good job, you won’t regret it.  Now that you’ve launched your CSR program, it’s time to share your good work and vision with the world.  But how exactly are you to do that?

CSR Communication is Not a One-Time Thing

Communicating your CSR work effectively requires more than a static website or an annual press release. Blogs, message boards, and social media tools like Twitter and Facebook are the best tools for ongoing discussions about your company. By engaging your community with these tools, you offer them a sense of ownership in the good work you’re doing.

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