B2B Going Green

By Morgan Strawn


If the peril currently faced by the planet was not enough to impress upon marketers the importance of sustainable business practices, they have had that importance underscored for them by one of their industry's leaders, namely, Marc Pritchard. ANA Newsstand has quoted the chief brand officer of Procter & Gamble insisting that "marketing is in a state of disruption, and people expect more from brands and companies. They expect us to do good for society and for the planet. Brands really have the opportunity and responsibility to step up and do good — and do so in a way that's good for growth."

It's not, however, only the Patagonias of the world and other B2C companies that have heeded these words; the 2022 B2 Awards prove that numerous B2B companies are also working to promote sustainability and bolster their environmental bona fides.

For an overview of some of the important work that B2 Award-winners have done on this front, consider the following case study summaries. And to read the full case studies, including the results of each campaign, just click on the embedded link.

Bloom Energy Flexes Its Hydrogen Credentials

Fuel-cell manufacturer Bloom Energy had made a critical breakthrough with the development of a high-efficiency electrolyzer, a key component in the effort to operationalize hydrogen-based energy, a zero-carbon energy alternative.

However, the company was not known for its involvement in the hydrogen energy sector, so it needed to expand awareness of its expertise in this field. The effort capitalized on beautiful product imagery and a short, educational video that used animated storytelling and narration to break down complicated scientific concepts in a way that was both easy to follow and technically compelling.

PureCircle Rehabilitates Stevia's Reputation

PureCircle sought to differentiate itself from past green-washing efforts perpetrated by other producers of stevia, a natural, near-zero-calorie substitute for sugar that generates hardly any carbon in production. The company hoped to accomplish this by highlighting its own transparent, vertically integrated supply chain through a campaign directed at food professionals.

The "A Sustainably Sweeter World" campaign used three inspiring, sustainable food landscapes to capture the essence of a Sustainably Sweeter World for food brands. PureCircle commissioned a small-scale, food photo shoot to produce an ice cream mountain range, a sustainable city, and a natural forest scene.

Additionally, PureCircle deployed banner advertising across a focused selection of U.S. food manufacturing websites, like Food Navigator. Emails and LinkedIn InMail messages targeted PureCircle's existing database. Organic social media posts on owned channels completed the outbound tactics. Finally, tactical paid search was targeted at searches for negative stories around stevia.

Cisco Helps IT Achieve Sustainability

Cisco wanted to educate and inspire IT leaders on the significant role they play in reducing environmental impact, how sustainability creates savings, and how the brand's own smart building technologies can support sustainability goals and business performance.

Cisco understood that sustainability done right can boost a company's bottom line, provide long-term savings, and increase workforce productivity. The brand's message? Sustainability is right for your planet, your business, and you.

To actualize this strategy, Cisco crafted a multichannel strategy that included video, display banners, social media content, and out-of-home advertising.

BMO's Sustainability Leaders Podcast

The bank BMO sought to appeal to global investors and ESG-minded professionals looking for guidance or supporting materials on their practice, as well as investor relations professionals looking for a deeper understanding of ESG.

To reach this audience, it created a podcast series focused on sustainability and particularly sustainable finance. The effort raised BMO's profile as a reliable, expert partner in this rapidly evolving investment discipline, even while connecting with existing and prospective clients.

National Grid Promotes Energy Efficiency

National Grid, an electricity and gas utility company, created a coordinated portfolio of industry-specific messaging to encourage energy efficiency among its commercial clients. The "More Opportunities in More Places" campaign drew attention to opportunities to conserve energy in familiar situations and demonstrated to vastly different audiences that energy efficiency wasn't an expensive upgrade, but a key business advantage.

The B2 Awards don't honor only brands that prioritize sustainability. The categories in which the awards program recognizes excellence range widely from event marketing to thought leadership to email. To browse the full library of case studies on award-winning B2B campaigns, click here.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Morgan Strawn is a senior manager of editorial and content development at ANA.