Becoming green: how small things can have a big impact

30 Jan

Sometimes small changes can make a big difference and Holland & Barrett are a good example. Nowadays Corporate Social Responsibility is becoming an important issue for all industries and that’s why it’s crucial for companies to take a lead on their support for the environment.

 Linking the banning of plastic bags into its 25-year of a butterfly conversation project positioned Holland & Barrett as the first high street retailer to lead the way on a major environmental concern. Under the banner “The Butterfly Effect”, Pegasus PR launched a campaign aiming to highlight H&B’s corporate responsibility, its 25-year sponsorship of the Large Blue butterfly conservation project and achieve significant media coverage. The campaign, launched at London Zoo reached an audience of more than 56 million and was featured in major press including the BBC and the Daily Telegraph. Through the PR campaign, H&B successfully raised the profile of its corporate responsibility towards green issues and its overall environmental credibility. It also won a Gold CIPR Pride Award for Corporate Responsibility and therefore I decided to have a closer look at it as an example of best practice. The campaign was quite creative employing the well-known “Butterfly Effect” theme to add an interesting twist to the story. The strategy was clear: to raise awareness of H&B as an environmentally aware retailer and communicate social responsibility to its eco conscious target consumer. What seems really interesting to me is the fact that they added a political angle to capture the attention of the business media by releasing comments from H&B’s CEO challenging the UK government to encourage other retailers to follow its positive lead by introducing a tax on plastic bags. Furthermore, this controversy was used to grab media attention on an old topic: introducing half measures such as plastic bag charges or a total plastic bag ban?

The campaign was measured by attendance at the briefing, number of press cuttings, total audience reach and equivalent PR value. In terms of their objectives it seems that the campaign hit its targets and even exceeded them. However, in my opinion measurable outcomes should have been set to make the campaign look even better, i.e instead of just aiming to raise awareness of H&B as an environmentally aware retailer a clear percentage could have been given and then compared to the initial perception of media and target audience.

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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in CSR, PR


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