The Role Of Explainer Videos In Sustainable Marketing
Sustainability is one of the latest hype trains regularly capturing media attention, and many brands are understandably eager to get their tickets aboard. As people become more environmentally conscious and demand greater responsibility from the brands they support, many companies are looking for ways to incorporate a long-term sustainable focus into both their business practices and their marketing strategies. And, while explainer videos have traditionally been used as a marketing tool to drive sales and conversions, they are increasingly being used by brands to promote these sustainability efforts and highlight their eco-friendly practices. So how exactly can we use explainer videos to support sustainable marketing?
1) explainer videos showcase your brand’s sustainable practices
Explainer videos can be used to showcase a brand’s sustainable practices in a way that’s entertaining and visually appealing. By highlighting their eco-friendly practices, brands can differentiate themselves from competitors and build a loyal customer base. For a company committed to sustainability this can be a wide-ranging topic, resulting in a whole series of video content that can be used to drive regular engagement with followers. This may involve highlighting the natural ingredients a product uses, showcasing the way packaging waste is being minimised, or the social and environmental organisations a brand supports. It’s important to go beyond the scope of your own product or brand here – don’t be afraid to show the wider impact your sustainable choices have on the environment and the community.
A great example of this can be found in everyone’s childhood favourite LEGO, who a few years ago pledged to make all their core products from sustainable materials by 2030 (https://youtu.be/5Xnx_YNjHRQ). Their ‘Sustainability Mission’ explainer video starts in classic explainer style by posing the question: Can LEGO bricks be made from the earth? After accepting the challenge, the video explains how they plan to do it (by making bricks out of sugarcane), what they’ve already done (by starting with one category of LEGO – the plants), and how it positively impacts the consumer (by making “bricks that are made to last”). The video is capped off by stating the wider impact of LEGO’s sustainability mission, which aims to “[let] the creativity of builders all around the world flourish for generations to come”. Bringing the video together is the visually pleasing nature of the LEGO bricks animated on a simple white background, along with the gentle sound effects of clicking bricks that evoke such a strong association with the LEGO brand and experience.
2) explainer videos perfectly illustrate your brand’s place in a circular economy
There’s quite possibly no better format for demonstrating a product’s lifecycle than an explainer video. If your product ingredients are locally sourced or contribute to a circular economy, this is a fantastic feature to promote. Explainers are visual and diagrammatic by nature, meaning it’s a great way to easily break down the core components of your products to illustrate where they’ve come from (in the case of locally sourced supplies), and / or where they’ll end up in their lifecycle (in the case of circular economy products). At a glance, potential customers who may not otherwise know the origins of your products can easily understand how your products fit into the wider community ecosystem.
In this example we see an artistic slant on an explainer video: French sneaker brand Veja uses a lo-fi styled video to explain their manufacturing origins and their strong focus on using natural and recycled materials: https://youtu.be/6B1OK0TM_ys. Veja uses eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton and wild rubber, and work directly with small-scale producers to ensure fair labor practices and reduce their environmental impact. The ethos of this choice is summed up poetically in the video narration: “Veja is a sneaker brand with two feet. We have one foot into the ecological world, and the other foot into the high end fashion world, and we love to mix both worlds into one project.” For viewers wanting more, the video description leads to Veja’s ‘project’ page, which outlines their material sources and describes the many ways in which they identify as a sustainably-focused company: https://project.veja-store.com/en/single/transparency. This page is in turn attached to Veja’s online store, leading the potential customer down the conversion funnel starting with brand values.
3) explainer videos help educate consumers on sustainability topics
One of the biggest challenges in promoting sustainable practices is educating consumers on the environmental and social impact of the products they use. Many of us are simply unaware of the impact our purchasing decisions can have on the planet and society. But true to their name, explainer videos can be used to explain sustainability topics to customers in a way that’s both engaging, easy to understand, and beneficial for brand awareness.
A recent example can be found in Västtrafik, the public transport company that runs buses, trams, and ferries in western Sweden. They have a public and ongoing commitment to sustainability, with goals of using 30% less energy per passenger/km by 2035 compared with 2006, and using purely renewable energy sources for all their forms of public transport by 2030. Their newest ad focuses on presenting CO2 emissions statistics in a visually striking way (https://www.itsnicethat.com/news/forsman-and-bodenfors-vasttrafik-together-for-reduced-emissions-advertising-240123). By focussing on a single graph (emissions per kilometre of an electric bus vs electric car vs fossil car) with a memorable visual (cars precariously stacked on top of each other to represent the impact and risk of high emissions), the ad functions in two ways. First, as a mnemonic device for viewers to remember the statistic, and second, as a funnel to promote further awareness of the issue of transport emissions – and by extension, further awareness of the Västtrafik brand (https://www.vasttrafik.se/en/info/statistics/). Given that explainer videos can be a powerful tool for influencing consumer behaviour, by educating consumers on the environmental and social impact of their purchasing decisions, explainer videos can encourage them to make more sustainable choices.