When It Comes to Recycling, What Should Brands Do? - The Social Element

When It Comes to Recycling, What Should Brands Do?

What is the relationship between your company’s brands and recycling? Since the final episode of Blue Planet II aired on the BBC, featuring the devastating impact of the human plastic consumption, the conversation around single-use plastics has changed significantly, especially for food and drinks brands.
The past few months have seen a wave of support from brands and consumers alike, keen to do their bit. Diageo, the BBC and the Royal Households have all committed to cutting back on single-use plastics, whilst Pret a Manger has doubled its discount for reusable coffee cup user.
These initiatives are highly admirable but what if your brand isn’t able to act immediately? Many of these decisions will be happening above or separate to the digital team. Even if your products are recyclable, your community managers or customer service teams are the ones left to respond to an increasingly engaged and vocal customer base.
 

Firm up your viewpoint  

It pays to be prepared so anticipate questions and start drafting those responses. Look at the types of questions your competitors have already received and determine how you would respond. For brands and industries where this may be a sensitive subject, get these responses signed off ahead of time so there isn’t any delay when questions come in.
Repeat this process on a regular basis, especially if launching a new product or packaging. Learn from your customer feedback.
 

But how to respond?

Be helpful

So your products are fully recyclable. Great! Let your consumers know and share links to more information.


 

Honesty is always the best policy

Transparency continues to be the marketing buzzword of the decade and should certainly be related to questions on recycling, even if it may not be the best news.


 

Don’t get defensive

As consumers are becoming more informed, brands are being increasingly challenged and these questions are getting more interrogative. Take a deep breath, be patient and answer with as much detail as possible


 

Take a hit

Maybe you can’t (immediately) change your product packaging. But can you encourage your customers to make small changes, at a small expense to your brand?


 

Track it

Quick changes aren’t always feasible but some hard data from your consumers could help move the needle internally. Add a tag to your social media management tool, and get tracking the number of queries relating to recycling your products or packaging.
 
Ultimately, how and when you respond to queries about recycling will depend on your products but it is clear the conversation has changed, potentially for the long term. Brands who want to stay ahead of changing consumer attitudes need to be prepared and ready to face these questions as and when they occur.