How Mortenson Approaches Copywriting for Sustainability

Marketing a commitment to sustainability can be challenging. How do you balance your corporate mission with client interests? Here are a few lessons from Mortenson on making copy for sustainable construction inclusive and inspiring.

Mortenson shows great copywriting for sustainability.

We’ve all seen brands succumb to a few common pitfalls when copywriting for sustainability. Whether it’s greenwashing to seem more eco-friendly or ostracizing clients with their message, failing to strategically market sustainability can be costly. The best brands toe a fine line between championing their work for the planet and staying focused on what keeps them afloat: client loyalty. 

Mortenson, a family-owned construction company and one of America’s biggest builders, understands that going green is a long-term game. By uplifting customers in its mission, Mortenson positions itself as a company with longevity. Here’s how the Mortenson team built a winning website with sustainability front and center. 

Selling sustainability with specificity    

One hallmark of successful copywriting for sustainability is deceptively simple: specificity. In a consumer market flush with disingenuous marketing tactics—from green packaging to images of the planet—people are becoming more wary of eco-friendly veneers. Brands now have to walk the walk and back up their claims to sustainability. 

Mortenson doesn’t shy away from specifics. Its website is sprinkled with projects that showcase the company’s sustainability work, from the Climate Pledge Arena to several LEED Platinum buildings. For Mortenson, these projects aren’t exceptions: they speak to a larger trend of sustainability that underscores the company’s work. 

Mortenson’s “Building for the Greater Good” page, for example, calls out several statistics: $20.4 billion in green and sustainable projects since 2006, 100% of electricity in U.S. offices offset by wind credits, and 275 projects with green awards and certifications. These milestones drive home the point that Mortenson is committed to the cause.   

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Welcoming clients into the mission 

Another smart move Mortenson makes in copywriting for sustainability: bringing its partners and customers into the fold. The website claims Mortenson’s employees “are pushing new limits and creating a more sustainable planet” while “working closely with … customers.” Rather than give edicts, Mortenson reassures customers they’ll collaborate to achieve a common goal. Any positive outcomes for the planet are the result of joint efforts, the copy suggests. 

Mortenson’s website copy also beckons to the future. Phrases like “Dream big. Now dream better” and “Shaping the world of things to come—no matter what we’re building” nod to its team’s sustainable practices while also suggesting to clients that Mortenson is a worthwhile partner. 

Large-scale construction projects are expensive, requiring extensive resources and buy-in. Clients want to know their investments will remain relevant and worthwhile for years to come. Mortenson speaks to that concern with future-oriented copy:  “Building for the greater good means that we consider the long-term health and vitality of our stakeholders in all we do.” 

Staying loyal to customers’ bottom lines  

Mortenson showcases its commitment to sustainability, but its team doesn’t lose sight of practical concerns. Money still drives decision-making, and Mortenson emphasizes budgets throughout its website copy and case studies to connect with customers. 

The first testimonial on the website underscores how its team can help improve clients’ bottom lines:  “Mortenson was very creative throughout the project in finding ways to stretch our dollars to the maximum benefit … It was clear that the Mortenson team members were always doing their best to get us the best outcome for our investment.” In this early encounter with the brand, customers get reassurance that Mortenson has their best interests in mind. 

A campaign to rebuild got support from sturdy copy

After Hurricane Sandy ravaged New York in 2012, the city needed to rebuild fast. But without an engaging website, the Build It Back campaign was struggling to engage homeowners—the very people the new scheme was hoping to help. But by working hand-in-hand with Build It Back’s creative team, MarketSmiths soon created a raft of sparkling copy, covering everything from taglines to branded language. Soon after launching, Build it Back had reached 25,000 registered applicants, exceeding original expectations by at least 20%.

> Read the full case study here

Copywriting for sustainability 

Mortenson approaches copywriting for sustainability with tact, inclusivity, and hope. The company attributes its impact as much to its partners as to its own team, and lets each project speak for itself. The message is clear and compelling: every step toward sustainability can make a big difference for our planet. 

Looking for a team who can write copy for sustainability? MarketSmiths delivers content that shines bright into the future. Get in touch.

Anne Paglia

Anne Paglia

After dabbling in journalism, communications, and science publishing, Anne found her way to MarketSmiths. When she’s not writing, this New Jersey native is likely spending time outdoors or expounding on the importance of the Oxford comma.

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