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How can organisations harness the power of emotion when communicating about ESG?

Discussed in the webinar “Igniting your marketing strategy through ESG” on 23rd February 2023

Hosted by TMC Strategic Communications’ CEO Tim McCloud and Social Impact Director Alannah Moore, our latest virtual event welcomed an expert panel of speakers from Siemens, Cognovi Labs, Planet Mark and Perfectly Fresh!.

Discussing the complex, but importantly symbiotic, relationship between Marketing and the Boardroom, the panel delve into their own perspectives on How can organisations harness the power of emotion when communicating about ESG? Providing actionable insight and commercial experience, learn how to enhance brand visibility and improve brand reputation.

Watch the episode below:



Tim McCloud

How can organisations harness the power of emotion when communicating with the ESG?



Beni Gradwohl, Ph.D.

I think Simon and Olivia said it very well and I want to piggyback on some of what they said in terms of personalisation. But think about how ESG has been represented in the past.

We’re looking at carbon footprint. Given the numbers, we’re looking at, diversity, equity, inclusion. We’re looking at the governance components, but let’s step back.

If we look at the overall population out there, I think we probably all agree that there is more than a critical mass of people who believe that the environment and ESG is important.

So why isn’t there an upswell of support? What’s missing if 50% – 70% of the global population believe it’s important?

Why are we not already making significant progress? Well, the fact is, because we are not emotionally engaging.

Do you really think that somebody who reads a newspaper around the carbon footprint of a company, or how many independent directors are on the board, is going to change their behaviour?

No. Words matter. You have to position it differently. We always talk about personalisation, but really what’s important in the personalisation is the fact that I can now relate as a human being on a deep, emotional level.


I’ll give you a personal example from an engagement we have with a client who was an entity which was very much into ESG. We would call it, in the United States, very ‘progressive’.

They were very much against fracking. Subsequently, they went into every client meeting and every conference, talking about how bad fracking is.

“We are against fracking. It’s bad for the environment. It’s bad for clean water.”

You know, in Europe, it’s probably similar to in the US. As soon as you talk about fracking, you divide the country into half; half says ‘Yes, that’s true. It’s bad for the environment.’

The other one says, ‘but it’s good for the economy.’

So change the personalisation. Change the narrative. Instead of saying ‘I’m against fracking, it’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for clean water.’ maybe ‘I believe every American family deserves clean water. Fracking is a risk to that.’

You have said exactly the same, but completely changed the environment. People now can relate, they understand you, and now they’re open to have a conversation.

And so emotions in marketing need to go hand in hand with the facts, but we have to position it in a way that we are truthful about the fact that we create that emotional engagement.




It’s time to close the gap between your Marketing and ESG objectives. There’s never been a better time to #StartNow. Find out more here.

Want to hear more? Listen to our panel discuss further topics below…



Beni Gradwohl, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and CEO, Cognovi Labs.

Find them on LinkedIn.


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