With over 200,000 Instagram followers, Going Green Media helps climate tech startups find their voice in the digital world

For climate tech businesses that want to connect with consumers and inspire action, creating compelling stories online is a crucial marketing tool. Going Green Media is a growing media brand that does just that.

Founded by a creative duo –Ben Brown and Ciara Doyle – the project boasts over 200,000 Instagram followers and creates inspiring films that showcase innovative green projects around the world.

Like many Green Techpreneurs, Ben founded the business out of a frustration with the status quo: “I was a student of architecture and getting really frustrated with lecturers talking about modernist designs with no sustainability credentials. So I bought a second hand camera and travelled to locations to film sustainable building projects, in the hope it would encourage the lecturers on his architecture course to teach the principles of environmentally-friendly construction.”

Little did he know the initiative would change the course of his life – “it became a viral hit on Youtube, and I realised it wasn’t just the architecture space that needs to get up to speed on environmental innovation, it’s the whole world.”

Ciara joined Going Green Media in 2020, and the brand has since steadily grown, working alongside organisations as varied as the WWF, Mastercard and The Olympics.

“We film green projects that inspire action,” says Ciara, “we go visit climate tech projects and allow them to tell their story. We translate often very high-tech projects and make the average person understand them and get excited about them.”

Winning followers and fans online is especially important for climate tech startups that want to connect with Gen Z and Millennials: according to a 2021 survey by the Pew Research Center, this demographic is far more likely to care about environmental issues than previous generations. They’re also more likely to engage with sustainability content on social media: some 56% of Gen Z reported seeing at least two posts on climate action during their weekly scrolling, with 45% of respondents in that age group engaging with the content.

In this Green Techpreneur edition, Ben and Ciara share what it takes to communicate effectively and build community in a virtual world.

What are the goals of Going Green Media?

Ciara: Our tagline is: ‘We film green projects that inspire action’. We are fortunate enough to find incredible green solutions from around the world, whether it’s an organisation or an individual who has come up with a solution to a big climate problem and help them tell their story using video.

The second part of our business model is to inspire people to take action for the environment in their own lives and get involved in their community in any way they can.

Ben: We feel like a lot of the climate news out there is so negative. That’s why all the content we produce is hopeful and inspiring. And that’s why we feel we’ve been able to have this success so fast, because people want to see content that makes them feel hopeful and like a better solution is possible.

What’s a project you’ve worked on that stands out?

Ciara: One big moment was back in early 2021. We went to visit a small greentech startup called NotPLA. They were making plastic alternatives from seaweed.

It was a really small team at the time. They were in a little office but they were so knowledgeable. Fast forward to the end of 2022, they won the Earthshot prize, which granted them a million pounds toward their project.

It’s those incredible startup transformations and journeys that are so amazing, and we hope we played a part in that.

What are your tips on creating content and growing online?

Make your content personable and accessible

Ben: The most successful climate tech startup stories that we’ve seen have made their content personable and accessible. So, taking a wider perspective and looking at ‘what is the problem we’re trying to solve? And then relaying that by breaking it down for people, making it easy to understand, so it’s not in this complex language.

Connect stories to individual people

Ciara: Put a person behind [your product] and say: ‘this is how I use it in my daily life’, or, ‘this is what it’s done for me’. Make that connection to how the product benefits the individual.

Collaborate as much as possible

Ciara: I think collaboration is undervalued. If you have a niche, find someone else who is doing something similar. That collaboration obviously isn’t only good for reaching new audiences and reaching new people, but also puts you in touch with more like minded people.
Ben: People in this space tend to be so welcoming; everybody’s working towards the same goal. We all want to make the biggest impact possible: reach out to other companies, influencers or content creators that are in these niches and collaborate on content and cross-promotion.

Passion and enthusiasm matters more than perfection

Ben: The first videos I created connected with people, I didn’t have the production quality, but they saw the enthusiasm was there. People connect with passion more than perfection in content.

Make the algorithm work for you

Ben: Follow the trends that are happening on social media. The algorithms are constantly changing, so you have to make them work for you. If you’ve been posting images for a long time and you’ve not seen it working, stop and change that. Reels on Instagram are just blowing up for both creators and businesses right now.

Build community through consistency and mutual engagement

Ben: Make sure you’re active on your stories – share the real aspects of your life to build connection and community.

Ciara: Building a community around your brand is so important, whether you’re an individual or a huge team. Engage with your followers, if they comment, respond, start a conversation.

What’s the biggest mistake you see startups making on social media?

Ben: The biggest mistake is making things too complex in explaining your topics, or not putting a person behind a story.

Ciara: Keeping it simple is the most important thing. As a creator, or as a business on social media, you have to create the type of content that you yourself would want to see or that you would want to take action from.

Do you have a mantra or motto you follow?

Ben: Leave the earth better than you found it.

Ciara: We don’t need ten perfect, sustainable people doing absolutely everything they can for the planet. We need millions and millions, and billions of people living sustainably but imperfectly.
We’re human, we’re imperfect. It’s about having that little voice in the back of your head pushing you to be a little bit more conscious in your day-to-day life that makes such a difference long-term.

What daily rituals keep you grounded?

Ciara: We fortunately have a park in our neighbourhood. At the end of a really long day, even if we have a million things that we have to do, we take 15 minutes to go outside. We have a favourite bench that we like to sit on. So we’ll go back to the bench, just breathe a little bit and then come back to it.

What does the future hold?

Ben: I’d love to get into documentary filmmaking and long form content, maybe getting into Netflix and the biggest streaming services.

Ciara: Our dream is to be that point of reference for people, if they’re having a bad day, or they’re feeling really weighed down by not just the climate crisis, but the news in general. We’d love to be a place where they can get some inspiration and feel hopeful again.

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