Thursday, September 6, 2007

Everything’s going “green.” What’s it mean?

“Green” is growing. In one week’s time, I got a marketing magazine that dedicated an entire issue to “green.” A printer sent me a direct marketing piece announcing that they now use all “green” materials. A client began work on a “green” product line. I’m sure you can add your own examples to this list.

Just a fad? I don’t think so. Cynical marketers can no longer dismiss the green demographic as a bunch of “tree-huggers.” Not when Wal-Mart is making a big push into the organic market. Consumers are turning toward organic foods, recycled packaging, hybrid cars and other more environmentally sound products.

What’s next?
Maybe it’s the B2B marketplace, where things are moving a little more slowly, but they are moving. Manufacturers of all shapes and sizes are beginning to look for ways they can go greener.

Some B2B companies are moving a lot faster toward products, services and marketing that emphasize a more eco-friendly approach. But according to this article in the aforementioned green issue of Deliver magazine, marketing your green initiatives comes with the risk that you’ll overshadow your brand and the other compelling aspects of your product or service. There’s also a chance that your audience will be skeptical of your efforts, as has been the case with Wal-Mart.

Does that mean you should shelve your green efforts?
Hardly. Just don’t be, um, green about them. You’ve got to know what you’re doing. And you’d better actually be doing something—not just talking about being green. Most importantly, keep an eye on your brand strategy. It takes careful thought to strike the right balance between the new positives of your environmentally conscious initiatives and the more traditional benefits of your products or services—the stuff that hooked your customers in the first place.

Your best green initiatives will be backed by your actions. They’ll be just one part of your marketing message. And they’ll complement, rather than overshadow, the essence of your brand.

I’d like to hear about your green efforts, and how you’re sharing them with the marketplace. So tell me, how’s going green going for you?

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

I agree whole heartedly - while it is trendy to 'go green’; I think your business and brand must align with the message. It would be very difficult for my company to hype its green activities when we send millions of pieces of direct mail annually. Instead, we keep our practices very low-key. If someone inquires, we have the information available, and we place 'printed on recycled paper' on each statement. Bottom line, we are mindful that a lot of our mail is unsolicited and therefore may be considered wasteful.