Sustainability Brand Safety Sustainable Transformation

Why this planet-friendly home renovation startup isn’t marketing itself as sustainable


By Ellen Ormesher | Senior Reporter

November 15, 2023 | 7 min read

The CMO of home renovation platform Beams tells The Drum how consumers are increasingly turned off by climate messaging.

A man standing on a roof, fitting a solar panel

Beams is a new sustainable home renovation platform / Beams

As the necessity for green goods and services continues to grow, Beams is the latest startup to launch in the home renovation space, offering an end-to-end service to plan, design and build any room in the home.

For context, Natasha Briefel, the brand’s chief marketing officer, explains that a quarter of the UK’s total carbon emissions comes from its buildings, “mainly from heating, lighting and appliances.”

”In the UK, our housing stock is the least energy efficient in Europe due to us having old homes. So to reach net zero, we urgently need to address the energy efficiency of our homes.”

Briefel has spent the majority of her marketing career in the tech space. “I’m very lucky to have worked for some great brands with a strong purpose and mission,” she tells The Drum. “I am proudest of the marketing campaigns that championed social causes and pushed for diversity and inclusion,” she says, referencing her time spent at dating apps including Tinder and Bumble.

At Tinder, Briefel helped launch the app’s ‘all genders’ feature, making it the first major dating platform to offer gender identities beyond male and female. At Bumble, she helped shape its educational campaign against cyber flashing and unsolicited imagery.

While it might not seem the most obvious connection, Briefel says the skills she learned at socially minded tech platforms have come in handy launching Beams. “Hayden Wood, our founder, has a really strong purpose and mission to improve the way we consume energy in our homes. The work really excites me because understanding how homes and buildings contribute to carbon emissions is a huge problem to solve.”

She says Beams has a key role to play by specifically targeting homeowners at the renovation stage. “Homeowners aren’t going to make these changes in isolation. It’s a big upheaval with a lot of costs involved. But if we can interject at the point at which they’re renovating, then we can make these really efficient energy upgrades, whether it’s insulation, heat pumps, boiler controls or waste recovery units.”

Crucially, she says Beams helps to streamline a process that can be quite overwhelming for customers, providing them with education and solutions. “Customers who work with us can reduce their carbon emissions by 50% and save an average of £2,500 a year on their energy bills.”

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Additionally, the platform is trying to make the home renovation process greener across the board. “We track all waste and aim to recycle all our materials. Our most recent renovation was successfully 100% recycled, so nothing went to landfill.

“We supply our contractors with a directory of sustainable materials: our cabinetry is made out of garnica plywood and those trees have the highest CO2 absorption rate of any raw materials and we also reduce time on build, so we’re on site for fewer weeks.”

She says the relationship with contractors is key to the overall experience for customers, but the platform lends itself to a smoother relationship due to the process being centralized on its interface. “When it comes to a marketing strategy within a sustainable business, the key is to understand your audience – what their key drivers are and what problems they’re trying to solve.

“The good news is that consumers are being driven by sustainability more and more, but unfortunately, when it comes to a housing renovation, consumers are more concerned with quality, ensuring they get matched with a good contractor and that the design looks good. So as a business, as much as I’d like to focus on sustainability, the reality is that it probably wouldn’t help us achieve our green mission to serve thousands of customers and grow this business at scale so we can have an impact.”

Briefel also points to Kantar research that shows consumers are increasingly turned off by green messaging due to a lack of trust. “We’d rather our customers had a great experience, reduce their energy consumption, reduce their bills and tell their friend using word of mouth, because that’s going to be a lot more powerful than us creating an ad about sustainability.”

Recalling her years working for dating platforms, she says it’s the same principle. “We’re relying on word of mouth, those micro-interactions in the pub where someone says ‘you should really try this!’ and then having a really clean app that makes the experience as enjoyable as possible.”

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