Do the Green Thing’s Born to Walk

We’re big fans of Do The Green Thing and their approach to conveying sustainability through creativity (and that’s not just because they are a client of ours).

Here’s their latest piece of narrative creativity: Born to Walk:

Guardian Sustainable Business Seminar and Q&A

This coming Thursday, Feb 3. I’ll be flying the Custom Communication flag at the Guardian Sustainable Business Seminar on social media and sustainability.

Ahead of that talk I took part in an online Q&A with a group of smart sustainability strategists and thinkers, including Lucy Warin from Futerra, David Connor from 3BL, Katee Hui from Do the Green Thing and author and consultant Diana Verde Nieto. It was an interesting discussion that opened up some new avenues of thinking around what makes a social company while, at the same time, revisited some of the same discussions about social media channels, measurement and ownership that we’ve been hashing out for six years now.

What fascinates me is that in those six years so much as changed yet we’re still grappling with many of the same challenges. And I get the feeling that social media has only just started its disruptive path.

The full Q&A can be found here.

It’s time to act like a publisher to see social media success

This is an email I sent to our contacts explaining why we’ve chosen to focus our attention on editorial services. After I’d written it I thought it should also live as a blog post….

By now you probably have a Facebook fan page, a Twitter feed and maybe a branded YouTube channel. But are you still wondering why this social media investment has yet to pay off?

The businesses that succeed with social media are the ones who’ve found an online voice that resonates. They are creative. They tell good stories. They listen. They inform. They encourage feedback.

While it’s relatively easy to build social media channels, it’s not easy to develop the right editorial voice that keeps your community engaged. We know because for nearly 20 years we’ve been creating editorial content for major publications and companies.

Drawing on that experience we’ve developed editorial services intended to help companies capitalise on the social media commitment they’ve already made.

We provide:

•    Training Workshops: Our Think Like an Editor (both introductory and intensive) training provides the core skills for planning and running online editorial content.
•    Social Editorial Consulting: We work closely with communication teams to provide strategy, advice and content creation skills as they develop their own online media operations. We also advise on sustainability and crisis communications and how they need to be handled in the Web 2.0 era.
•    Editorial Creation: Whether it’s a social media magazine, an iPad content strategy or repackaging campaign content for meaningful social media conversation our combination of journalism and social media strategy experience can help.

Over the years we’ve created and edited content about travel, business, sustainability, lifestyle and sport for dozens of major publications and we’ve advised companies such as Lloyds Banking Group, PwC, the Rough Guides and Volkswagen on social media strategy and publishing since 2005.

You can learn more about our work at or feel free to contact me on 07949 830256.

Working together we can help you tell your story online.

The Sustainability Snack: A DIY Cycle Route in Mexico

Cycling advocates in Guadalajara, Mexico were fed up with the local authorities inaction on creating a safe biking environment so they took the law into their own hands. Their efforts to create a bike lane system in the city are captured in this video.  Treehugger has all the details on the guerrilla cycling scheme.

It’s not the first time concerned citizens have protested in this way but you do have to wonder whether bike advocates in, say, a major US or European city, would be able to pull of such a stunt without attracting the attention of the authorities?

Social Media CSR on Guardian Sustainable Business Network

Here’s our new column on the Guardian’s Sustainable Business Network about the Social Media Sustainability Index.

Social Media Sustainability on Ad Age

Here’s our new column about the Social Media Sustainability Index for Ad Age’s Digital Next blog.

Included in it is our Slideshare presentation on the History of Social Media CSR - The Good, the Bad & the Ugly.

The Social Media Sustainability Index

This week we published in collaboration with SMI the Social Media Sustainability Index, the first ever attempt to evaluate how successfully companies are using social media to communicate sustainability and their corporate and social responsibility policies.

You can read more about the Social Media Sustainability Index over at SMI and you can download the full report.

The Danube’s Deadly Secrets - Sustainability Snack

The Danube river basin is a toxic time bomb according to a new WWF study reported on by the Guardian. In the aftermath of last week’s toxic sludge spill in Hungary, the WWF demonstrates how the river flows through a series of heavy industrial developments, many of which have been neglected over the last few decades.

The danger says the WWF is  that,”There are a string of disasters waiting to happen at sites across the Danube basin.”

Using EU data WWF has identified that Hungary has the most vulnerable sites but warns that Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria also have industrial dumps that pose a significant environmental and freshwater threat.

This is the daily Sustainability Snack provided by Custom Communication. We publish in-depth smart sustainability news digests individually tailored for companies and their employees. Contact us to hear how we can deliver you the sustainability news you need to know about.

Sustainability Snack: Google Looks to Redraw America’s Power Grid

Google and Good Energies, a New York-based investment firm specialising in renewable energy, are backing a new $5 billion wind farm energy transmission project off the Atlantic Seaboard “that could ultimately transform the region’s electrical map.” the New York Times reports this morning.

Regulators and politicians are said to be excited about the project not least because it proposes to harvest and link wind power to consumers in reliable and unobtrusive way.

“Conceptually it looks to me to be one of the most interesting transmission projects that I’ve ever seen walk through the door,” said Jon Wellinghoff, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees interstate electricity transmission. “It provides a gathering point for offshore wind for multiple projects up and down the coast,” he told the NYT.

Custom Communication provides smart sustainability news digests individually tailored for companies and their employees. Contact us to hear how we can deliver you the sustainability news you need to know about.

A History of Social Media Screw Ups

It’s been five years since we launched Custom Communication to help companies tell their own stories using smart, useful content online.

Back in 2005 most companies were just starting to consider the influence blogs and customer opinions could have on their business. After all, Twitter and YouTube hadn’t even launched back then while Facebook was still a niche networking tool used by solely by students.

We hadn’t intended to focus on social media but the more we talked to clients we realised they needed help understanding how social media might change their customer communications and how this explosion in personal publishing would affect their reputation online.

So, over the last five years, we’ve specialised in three areas of business: social media training and strategy, online reputation management and teaching companies how to think like online publishers while also creating custom content.

As we mark the fifth anniversary of our consultancy I started reflecting on the way our online world has changed in such a short time and how many companies have been caught off-guard by social media. (See how the numbers of instances have grown in that time).

I thought it would be fun to try and document all the important company misadventures in social media. Here it is - A Short History of Social Media Screw Ups. Tell us what you think and if we’ve missed any good examples.