Environmental responsibility in the auto industry: PR’s impact on sustainability messaging
26 Sep 2023, By Theja Ram - Content Director & Senior Manager Servicing
India is the fourth largest automotive market in the world, with a penetration of 33 automobiles per 1,000 people. It is also the world’s third largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) after China and the United States, and accounts for 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from road transportation. As a rapidly developing country, India, much like its global counterparts, is striving to construct a robust and low-carbon economy by encouraging the agenda for sustainability). And the automotive industry has a crucial role to play in India’s journey to achieving carbon neutrality or net zero by 2070, especially when consumers are increasingly growing environment-conscious.
Electronic vehicle registrations in India skyrocketed by 209% in 2023 alone. When we look at the growing popularity of sustainable vehicles in India and across the world, one major car manufacturer is responsible for this EV growth trajectory — Tesla. A decade ago, no major automaker was going to bet on a non-existent electric-vehicle market. But Tesla took on the risks and created a new segment. Today, almost every carmaker in India and across the world, has announced significant electric-vehicle ambitions. We already have Tata and Mahindra driving the demand for electric vehicles in the country.
But challenges abound. Car manufacturers in India are worried about the lack of adequate supporting infrastructure to support the EV ecosystem. And they are faced with the most worrying of them all — finding a way to connect with buyers.
This is exactly where PR plays a role. In reputation building, delivering deeply relevant narratives about sustainability to the target audience and building a positive brand image that ultimately influences customer buying decisions. Here’s how a sustained PR campaign can help businesses in the automotive sector with their sustainability messaging.
Building a positive brand image with messaging
One of the tenets of PR is building a positive outlook for the brand and achieving it by engaging the right journalistic platforms. The first step in any buying journey of a motor vehicle is for a consumer to go onto a search engine and look up the existing vehicles available for their specific needs. And they look for reviews, ratings and more.
Ultimately, customers will settle on the brand with the most positive image. Sustained PR efforts can help automotive brands achieve this positive brand image they so desire. And what’s more, targeted narratives about sustainability helps build trust in the eyes of the consumer. Additionally, the Indian government’s push towards EV adoption with concessions and incentives for buyers has a huge bearing on the automotive industry's sustainability efforts. PR can help companies navigate these regulations and present their compliance as a positive aspect, helping them connect with their audience.
The power of thought-leadership
How your consumers perceive you largely depends on what they read about you online, on their social media platforms and also what news publications they trust have to say about you. A targeted PR campaign puts automotive brands right in the centre of the dialogue on sustainability — With interviews, articles, podcasts and participation in relevant industry events. It lays the foundation for building the perception of a sustainable brand, which is the need of the hour.
Addressing the challenge of influencing consumer buying behaviour requires automotive brands to stay relevant. This involves getting into conversations on topics that are trending and most relevant. And PR helps you do just that. It establishes credibility in the brand and creates awareness about the brand’s efforts in overcoming challenges and building resilience.
Leveraging PR tools
Be it press conferences, getting study reports published, leveraging existing case studies and curating targeted PR campaigns, there are numerous such tools that can be leveraged to showcase real-world examples of any brand’s sustainability efforts. This adds to the credibility, increases share of voice, builds top of mind recall and improves the brand image considerably
Measuring PR Impact
Automotive companies can measure the impact of their PR efforts on sustainability messaging using a wide variety of metrics, including media coverage, competition analysis, and social media engagement, which clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of PR campaigns. The efforts of PR aren’t in vain. It helps automotive brands build a steady digital footprint of articles that add to the positive brand image.
Currently, the automotive industry is more focused on implementing upstream sustainability practices to achieve its sustainability goals. From the perspective of upstream, improving manufacturing practices, sourcing of green energy, and conducting supplier assessments have been top priority. Leveraging these efforts to create the image of a sustainable brand is possible with PR efforts. It is an essential step in helping your customers understand how your efforts are in sync with their values. Partner with an experienced agency like Star Squared PR to assist you in your environmental responsibility and sustainability journey to make a difference and set benchmarks in the industry.