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Crafting Compelling Messages: Communicating Sustainability through Digital Marketing

In Conversation with Julie Wang

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Julie Wang, Founder of Tiny Planet Digital, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Julie highlights the power of sustainability in business, emphasizing data-driven insights and tangible results. Her vision focuses on businesses becoming agents of positive change, driving environmental impact and brand loyalty in a greener economy. Watch now.

Sustainability is not just a trend, it’s a necessary mindset for businesses to thrive in the future.

Julie Wang
Founder of Tiny Planet Digital
Julie Wang

Hi everyone. This is Ranmay here on your show, E- Coffee With Experts. Today we have Julie Wang, who is the founder of Tiny Planet Digital with us. Welcome Julie, to our show.

Hi. Thanks for having me. I’d love to share a little bit more about my company. Tiny Planet Digital is a full-service digital marketing agency based in Canada. We serve clients in the B Corp and sustainability space nationally and around the world.

Superb. Julie is the founder of Tiny Planet Digital as you mentioned, a sustainability-focused digital marketing agency. What inspired you to create a business specifically dedicated to promoting eco-friendly products and services?

Of course. So, before moving to Canada, was born and raised in the island nation of Taiwan. And coming from such a small island country, I was made aware of the waste issue at a very young age, we were taught about composting, recycling, and waste reduction. And we even had tours of landfills and incineration plants in school.

So through that, I learned more about where our garbage goes. You don’t just throw it into the bin and then it disappears. It is burnt. And with more incineration, it affects the local air quality as well. So I was made aware of that fact, quite young and I’ve always kept that with me. And moving to Canada and North America I felt the difference in their approach and mindset of how we deal with waste, how we talk about waste and recycling. So that kind of inspiration from a young age has inspired me to promote a more sustainable world for everyone living in it.

Brilliant, brilliant story. Quite inspiring, I must say. Very few people can hold on to their, ethical values and run a business on them and then, and make a profit as well. Quite a story I must say. Great. With sustainability you have seen it from childhood, like you mentioned, it becoming an increasingly important aspect of business practices.

What challenges do you often encounter when working with companies that are just beginning the journey toward becoming more environmentally conscious?

Yeah, for sure. So as a full-service digital marketing agency, we do help our clients with their entire digital funnel, so their footprint online. So whether that’s their website, their search, their SEO, their social media community, their email newsletter, their content, or anything like that for those Businesses who are just starting on the sustainability or environmental journey.

We typically work with them to identify their goals as in what do you want to change and what kind of message do you wanna bring forward. We also then work with them to identify their strengths, to figure out what their points of differentiation are and how they can stand out digitally, but also in terms of company positioning.

Something we do want to avoid, which is a very common term, is greenwashing. And for those of you who are not familiar with greenwashing, this is a marketing and advertising practice where you spin a regular practice of any kind into a more sustainable or environmental practice. Just by calling it a different name, and this is something we want to, avoid. So we work with our clients to make sure that they know what their goals are, and what their strengths are and we’re not just repackaging the same business and spitting it back out. So I think with a lot of businesses in the last say 10 years, sustainability has always been nice to have.

You get an extra point if you do that in your business. So people would tell us, we’re selling vitamins, not painkillers. But in the last few years, I feel like the perception. Of that has changed quite a bit. More businesses understand that this is something they need to do as consumers become more educated, knowledgeable, and aware of the issues say the tourism industry might have, or the consumer electronics industry might have, and their impact on the planet.

Yeah. Great. And then in your role, in your experience, how important does storytelling, play as a role to, promote sustainability and how do you craft compelling stories which also resonate with the consumers and inspire them to, make more environmentally conscious choices overall?

Yeah, that’s a great question. In working with all of our clients to build their funnel, there are a couple of different stages in the consumer journey that we want to hit. Number one, making them aware that there is a problem. So this is pretty classic marketing here at play, but making the consumer aware that there is an issue to be resolved because if there is no need, no problem.

People can just go on their way and live life the same way. Yeah. And after they are educated about the problem, which more and more people are nowadays then you present the business as a solution to that problem. As an example, one of our clients is a community-supportive fishery. And what that is that you pledge money to fishermen before they go out fishing, and then they know that their income would be more stable and it prevents illegal fishing and overfishing as you commit a certain amount of money and the fishermen go out and bring their catch.

So you know exactly where your seafood comes from. In telling a story like that of, what the problem is, for example, illegal fishing, and then going through with providing the solution of how we can provide transparency in getting your seafood. We then compel the consumer to make those more conscious decisions.

And obviously as a digital marketing firm, we not only tell that story, but we do a lot of technical work to bring that to life and optimize that each step of building awareness educating, and how to make those conversions happen for you online. Something else I would love to touch on is a very even interesting phenomenon called Green hushing because there are so many different sustainability certifications out there, and so many people making different efforts to make a difference. Sometimes people tend to feel like their impact is not good enough. Or they are afraid of further criticism of what they’re attempting to do. But our kind of motto here is always, to be an impact maker. Sometimes the first groundhog or mole that comes out of the ground gets whacked, but at least you’re speaking up and making a difference. We want to prevent businesses from, green Hushing because they don’t know what to say about their sustainability practices and they’re not sure how to make their customers care about it. So we are here to help with that.

Great. And then, in all of this social media must be playing a really important role, what do you feel during this entire transformation of, so many people getting influenced by social media, multiple social media platforms? So how do you use it as a communication channel for your client’s businesses?

Yeah, so social media is a great platform in terms of building awareness of the problem. As I said, the first step, what I’ve found to be a little bit lacking in the space is what to do with all that momentum.

And brand awareness you’ve created as everyone in the world’s probably seen of that turtle with the straw in its nose. And it’s a really sad story about ocean garbage ending up in our ecosystem. A lot of awareness and momentum was built up behind that on social media, right? But we’re here to help, what’s the next step? Is there a call to action? Is there any kind of conversion funnel that we’re building out for our clients to either collect information, put people on a newsletter get them engaged with our content get links for search engine optimization, and the further distribution of that content? We’re here to go beyond that initial awareness and, build that momentum.

Great. Talking about multiple channels, how do you approach the process of selecting the right mix of channels for a specific business or client? Digital marketing campaign. And what factors do you consider making those decisions on finalizing the channels that you wish to, thrive on?

Totally. So with any client projects we work with, no matter how big or how small, we go through four very specific steps. So step one is always assessment, because without knowing where you are right now, how do we know where we’re going? And after we assess the environment and situation to figure out where your business is, what is the competitive landscape, what are your strengths and weaknesses, etc, we move into step number two, which is strategy.

So formulating a plan of which channels. We are targeting according to your budget, which is most suitable for your business. Because B2B businesses and B2C businesses are active on different channels. As an example, LinkedIn is much more popular for B2B businesses. While say, Facebook and Instagram are the most popular for B2C businesses, then we move on to step number three of implementation.

So doing a lot of testing and working on making our strategy into reality. So publishing content, and engaging with audiences. And then lastly, in step number four, we have an analysis step where each month we gather the data of different metrics we’ve set out in the strategy and analyze whether a campaign.

Whether the run was successful or not, and what further adjustments and optimizations we can make shortly to best assist our client. So with each client, of course, the different channels and most optimal thing to do is different. So we want to go through that consultative process with anyone interested in working on their funnel.

Great. And then, talking about your additional marketing strategies how do you effectively communicate the unique value propositions, of these businesses that you work with and then their products and services? Because it is very difficult to actually understand and then communicate and then, make those calls to action. What is the next step? As you mentioned content also plays a very important role there. So how do you play around with communicating those messages, to your clients and consumers?

Yeah, so I think something we are very interested in doing as a team is to become an extension of our client’s team because there’s so much sustainability and environmentally focused products and services out there without understanding the intention, the technology and the space that they’re in.

It is really difficult for us as an external marketing team to promote and amplify all the good work they’re doing. So we always start off our projects with a Consultative approach doing a discovery phase to help us integrate ourselves into the business and their, points of differentiation, their strength a bit better, what is okay with them and what is not, what do they typically promote? What has worked well in the past and what has not? So having that deeper understanding of their business helps us become better advocates and marketers for them.

Great. And then, before I let you go, Julie, I have to ask you this, this burning topic of, AI, chat GPT, and now Bard coming, exciting times ahead, and a lot of people, especially in the content domains, are scared of their jobs. So what is your take on it? Where are we headed?

Yeah, good question. So I do think at the current level, we’ve had a lot of discussion among our team about it. We think AI, Chat G P T is a really good tool in terms of research support and productivity. But in terms of actually replacing people’s jobs that will still be a while, even though AI is improving, its technology exponentially, humans are very bad at anticipating exponential growth and change. So I, being human don’t think it will replace us just yet, but it’s a really good tool in supporting us to be better writers, better marketing strategists, better content strategists, and better SEO, just because it could quickly generate so many ideas for us But as I said earlier, we really wanna make sure we understand our client’s businesses, their products, and services, and integrate ourselves into their company before we start amplifying their work and spitting things out. And something that chats GPT doesn’t do very well yet is understanding very specific context. It’s very good at giving general ideas, general suggestions, and recommendations because it’s an aggregate of what people think and what’s on the internet. But we need to be very specific about clients’ strengths. You know what they want to highlight and sometimes that doesn’t come directly from AI
So I think it will take a while for AI to take over.

Absolutely. It, it does give you a headstart. Yes. It cannot be your final product because the emotional question is not there in the storytelling piece of it that we, as end consumers, you’re always looking for Right.

When you’re reading any content. So Yeah. Like you mentioned, just not there, just not there as yet. Let’s see how it goes and then the times ahead. And then, Julie before we wrap this up, I would. I like to play a quick rapid-fire with you. I hope you’re game for it. Sure.
Great. Your favorite book?

Ooh. At the moment it’s educated by Tara Westover.

Okay. Are you a morning person or a night person?

Ooh. Good question. I’m an afternoon person. I find it difficult to wake up and difficult to fall asleep.

Okay. And let’s say we have to make a movie about you, okay?
What genre does it be?

A romantic comedy.

Okay. Superb. That, that’s quite a different one to what I’ve heard recently from my, other guests. And what did you do with your first paycheck?

Ooh, I put it in the bank and I saved it.

Okay. That’s sustainability, at the core of it, right?

Yes. So great. I’ll not grill you any further, Julie, but a big thank you for taking out time and doing this with us even after your hectic week. I know you have been traveling, and you’ve been speaking a lot, but a big thank you for doing this and I’m sure our audiences will have benefited a lot from hearing those insights from you.

Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. Great. Thank
you.

Bye.

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