World Water Week has grown into a massive global event that successfully drives awareness around the topic of sustainability. Over the past few years, every major enterprise has aligned their messaging, marketing and resources around this important initiative. This newfound focus makes good business sense. In fact, research from the National Marketing Institute found that consumers are 58 percent more likely to buy a product if they know a company is mindful of sustainability. As such, companies are establishing and practicing sustainable business strategies — and hoping that these good deeds translate into more loyal customers.

The theme of this year’s World Water Week was “Water and Waste: Reduce and Reuse,” which aligned with current business practices of boosting the bottom line through water conservation. Sustainability has even permeated the financial balance sheet: Enterprises now work under a triple bottom line — one that incorporates financial, social and environmental factors — meaning they have to operate in a sustainable manner to achieve their objectives.

How do brands tap into the enthusiasm and global awareness generated by World Water Week?  Here is a quick recap of the week’s events based upon Zignal’s media and social intelligence.

World Water Week: Clean and fresh messaging

The week-long event fueled 56,351 mentions, with the highest amount of mentions coming on Tuesday 8/29. The top topics played off the central theme of “reduce and reuse.” Five of the top ten topics focused on phrases associated with drinkable water, like “clean water” and “fresh water pollutants”.

The main hashtag for the event, #WWWEEK, was a success and used 46,659 times —  forty thousand times more than any other hashtag used around the event. A surprising number of the top hashtags for World Water Week focused on countries. #Yemen, #SouthSudan and #Nigeria were used a combined 2,782 times over the course of the week.

Brands bask in the aura of #WWWEEK

Global brands were able to tap into the positive enthusiasm produced by #WWWEEK. In fact, brands fared better in terms of positive sentiment than the actual event itself. Brands associated with World Water Week generated a positive net sentiment score of 92 percent, compared to the event’s 66 percent. Why? Brands touted their positive sustainability programs and achievements, while the event highlighted global challenges.

Charities, NGOs and state run organizations are typically in the center of the clean wter and conservation conversation. As a result, influencers from these groups dominated many of the social conversations. That said, a handful of brands shined as top influencers — namely Siemens, Coca-Cola and Shell. Interestingly, Xylem, an American water company, was the company that generated the most mentions, yet didn’t appear as a top influencer. Finally, National Geographic — the most influential brand associated with conservation and sustainability —  was only mentioned once.

The benefits of corporate sponsorship

Xylem, stood out as one of the primary sponsors of World Water Week and sole sponsor for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP). The company’s association with the event paid off handsomely. The conversation around the Xylem brand focused on their support of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and water treatment and wastewater practices. As a result, the company generated 2x more mentions than any other company, with positive net sentiment hovering at 95 percent.

World Water Week as a Guiding Light for Regulation

The fifth most mentioned topic of the week was Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. SDGs are a set of goals, targets and agendas that UN member states will be expected to implement over the next 15 years. The popularity of the topic demonstrated the importance of SDG guidelines and how they will shape the future of clean water and conservation. While the scope of the SDGs are broad, member states proposed ideas on how they could meet these requirements through legislation at World Water Week, which in turn impact the way that corporations will be forced to operate.

Sustainability is good for the planet — and good for big business. In the future, events like World Water Week will continue to draw the attention major enterprises as they look to garner positive press and bolster their sustainability initiatives. These events provide an opportunity for brands to spread awareness of their sustainability practices and develop a “greener” brand — which ultimately translates into “green” top and bottom lines.