Avoiding herd communication: How impact investing companies can stand out in an increasingly busy market

For those of us who have been cheering on impact investing for some time, the last few months have come with unexpected good news; money is being channelled into sustainable funds in record amounts.

With investors thinking more about the long term, it is becoming clear that the current crisis is acting as a catalyst that will drive impact investing to new heights.

Although it’s an exciting time for impact firms, a new challenge is emerging: more than ever before, they are going to be working in a fast-paced and crowded market.

Until now, the growth of impact investing has been steady, but this change in investor sentiment will see the rate of change pick up and the competition for brand recognition intensify.

The opportunity is stark, but so are the risks. It’s crucial that impact firms ensure they successfully build their brand as the industry has a surge in activity, otherwise they’ll find themselves left behind.

Here are a few basic principles to help them do so.

Be measured

Yes, it’s exciting but don’t try to do too much. When it comes to impact investing comms, better to do a little well, than lots badly. Be selective with what you go ahead with depending on your resources.

Think carefully about your long term aims and make sure your communications align with business goals. The best way to boost your brand is to select a few specific areas you want to be known for, outline your thoughts on them and let that feed into all your comms activity across all channels. A clear, sustained message is one that sticks.

Play to your strengths

More than most industries, yours is emotive. Your audience will engage well with the passion you have so make sure your company mission shines through to your audience. It can be tricky to know what part of the market you should be commenting on but bear in mind that your business is unique. Identify what makes you worth knowing and make sure that features in strategic decisions on your communications.

Similarly, if you are lucky enough to have a good spokesperson who knows the industry back to front, make sure you leverage them. It doesn’t always have to be your CEO. Building up one person’s profile can do lots for a business, particularly when the press know them as a good source.

Relatable content

It will be more challenging to differentiate yourself. Remember that you’re trying to engage with people, some of which won’t always find what you are talking about as interesting as you do.

It’s best to avoid jargon as much as possible. Not only does it make people switch off but many people – including journalists – will not be as familiar with some of the more technical industry terms.

The key is to make it relatable. Taking a creative, light-hearted, or even humorous, approach to your communications can be very effective when executed well. I strongly believe that the power of a good analogy cannot be overstated.

Fundamentally, nobody knows where this crisis will lead, but the sentiment for sustainability will persevere. And, as impact investing grows at this accelerated rate, it will be talked about more and more.

Make sure you are part of the conversation.

If you would like to hear about how we could support your communications strategy, we would be happy to have a chat with you. Get in touch at FSGlobal@aspectusgroup.com

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