PR Word of the Week #13: The Triple Bottom Line

Last week, I talked about an important part of communications, the double bottom line. The bottom line measures our fiscal performance, while the double bottom line measures a company’s performance in terms of positive social impact.

But guess what? We can even go deeper to measure a company’s performance in terms of positive ecological impact, also know as the triple bottom line.

As with the double bottom line, the triple bottom line should contribute to the increase in the bottom line.

Triple Bottom Line

(ˈtripəl ˈbätəm līn)
noun
The triple bottom line means expanding the traditional reporting framework to take into account ecological performance in addition to financial performance.

Example

As with the double bottom line, the triple bottom line has sparked what we call cause marketing strategies. Companies use this method of communications to seperate themselves from their competition by showing their consumers what they are doing to make the planet a better place, by practicing environmentally friendly initiatives, i.e. using recycled paper, shutting off their lights at the end of the day, sharing documents through cloud software rather than printing, etc.

Why and what are the benefits

The benefits of communicating the triple bottom line are the same as the benefits laid out last week when I spoke about the benefits of communicating the double bottom.

  • Consumers are more likely to relate with you if they feel they share common values with your company.
  • You can create a relationship with these consumers, which can lead to exclusivity among your consumers, where your customers only go to you and no one else.
  • When a consumer relates with a company with similar values, they tend to share that love with others, which leads to new and more consumers.

As communicators, if our goal is to increase a company’s bottom line, then we should always be thinking about how we can incorporate the double and triple bottom line in to our strategies.

Too many bottom lines

All these lines can become a little confusing. Another simpler way of remembering the three bottom lines are the three Ps:

  1. Profit: your bottom line, your ultimate goal in communications is to increae your company’s profit.
  2. People: your double bottom line, when a company invests in the well-being of their own people or of the people in the community.
  3. Planet: your triple bottom line, when a company invests in a greener and cleaner earth.

Does your company contribute to their double or triple bottom line? Share your opinion by leaving a comment.

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