Promotions with a Purpose

It isn’t very often that we have an opportunity to make the world a better place with our purchasing decisions, but we have found 3 companies that are enabling us to do just that.  In the spirit of our Boundless Core Value “Do the Right Thing” we are highlighting companies and products that give back to the community and the Earth.

In part 3 in our series “Promotions with a Purpose” we speak with Aubrey Collins, the Marketing Director at Mediatree, about Treecycler, a digital promotion that lets you plant a tree in reforestation projects around the world. 

Imagine if every product sold or piece of mail delivered could help protect and sustain the planet.  That’s the idea behind Treecycler.  It all started when a group of us had an idea that if we could offset resources that go into creating the world’s mail and packaging, we could make a difference for the planet.  We founded Treecycler to turn this idea into a reality.

When MediaTree’s team developed the Treecycler product, we started out with a simple “What If?”

What if we could provide a product that could educate and connect people socially and also helped them to come together to plant trees in reforestation projects around the globe?

What if we took our digital promotion experience and used it to connect brands with their customers and employees and helped them do something important for the planet — together?

Working Together

Treecycler works with brands to help support non-profit and state forestry organizations in need of funding.  By partnering with brands on these promotions, our aim is to offset the environmental impact of making the products by allowing customers to redeem a code and plant trees in global reforestation projects around the world.  Our platform provides an interactive map that shows all of the reforest projects we are supporting, ranging from Trees for Tributaries in New York to planting White Birch trees in Alaska and even global sites in South America, Africa and Asia.

Five years — and over one million trees planted — later, we are happy to say that the experiment has been a worthwhile one.

In our years working on developing Treecycler and executing promotions with it, we’ve uncovered a few key elements that can be used for projects designed for social good — both big and small.

Collaboration – What makes Treecycler successful is the fact that brands are working with their customers to do something good for the planet together…with special emphasis on together.  This is a key factor that sets Treecycler apart.  Rather than offering a customer a product, you are offering them an experience that they can feel good about.  Your brand essentially becomes the middle man in a rewarding exchange between the customer and the reforestation project.  And all of this can be done in the recipients’ home in under a minute — bringing new meaning to armchair environmentalist!

Before and After

Convenience – Offering an easy platform has been a huge part of the programs success.  Whether they are on their smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop, the recipient of a Treecycler code can donate a tree to their choice of over 50 reforestation projects in the world…from anywhere.  In the modern world, we are all busier than ever before, but we’re also more educated about the importance of the impact we have on our planet — both in terms of how we affect the Earth and how it’s up to us to assist it. Treecycler makes it easier than ever before to make a difference.

Company Event

Aubrey Collins and Aaron Kinsman at a SXSW Eco event where Treecycler organized a community native seed ball making event.

Choice – One of the most exciting trends of the 21st century is how many brands are embracing commerce as a way to do some good in this world.  Brands like TOMS and Warby Parker are prime examples, since they donate a product to a community in need with each purchase.  Treecycler takes this one step further in that we allow the recipient to select where they want to make their donation.  When we launched Treecycler, we hoped people would believe in it, connect with it, and get excited by it.  And they did, in a very interesting way.  Since Treecycler users connect emotionally with the act of planting their tree and take the action seriously, they often plant their tree in a place that holds emotional significance to them.  It isn’t simply redeeming a code to them.  Rather, it is something that has a strong emotional impact.

As we built out the Treecycler product and in each program we execute, our mantra has been, “One tree at a time.”  It’s taking these small steps together that will have the greatest, longest-lasting impact on our planet.

Author Bio

Did you catch part 1 and part 2 in our “Promotions with a Purpose” series?