I like this piece of street art in Amsterdam, reminding drivers about global warming and rising seas levels – which is a big worry in places like the Netherlands.
This is a terrific list for companies who are just starting to make the move into green marketing. If your business is thinking about becoming green, and how to market yourselves, this is a good place to start.
Here it is:
1. Forget “green.” Okay, you don’t really want to forget it, but you do want to think beyond it. Being environmentally responsible is important, but today’s Awakening Consumers are looking for more. They’re looking at how your brand addresses all three pillars of sustainability: environmental impact, social impact, economic feasibility.
2. Walk before you talk. Don’t make any sustainability claims until you can back them up. Completely. This may seem obvious, but you’d be amazed at how often marketers want to cut corners and make claims they’re not ready to. And that’s a recipe for disaster.
3. Just the facts, ma’am. Don’t tell me what a great corporate citizen you are, tell me what you’re doing, and I’ll make that determination on my own. Simply stating the facts surrounding your sustainability efforts allows you to talk about them without coming across as smug or self-congratulatory. No one likes a show-off.
4. Let someone else tell your story. Nothing is better than a credible third-party endorsement. This is where a partnership with a respected non-profit that shares your values is especially beneficial. Allow your partner to tell the world what you’re doing together.
5. Keep it simple, make it relevant. Your sustainability initiatives should feel like a natural extension of your brand. Several years ago, Green Team did a campaign highlighting Jaguar Car’s partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society to save jaguars in the wild. Jaguar helping jaguars. Its simplicity and relevance made it successful.
6. Look inside. It’s critically important to engage your employees in your sustainability initiatives. With that in mind, look to the people within your own organization for ideas. This is how the partnership between Yoplait yogurt and Susan G. Komen For The Cure came to be. The cause was initially embraced by Yoplait employees on a grass roots level, then ultimately adopted by the brand itself.
7. Money isn’t everything. Sure, financially supporting a sustainability campaign is important, but don’t just write a check and walk away. Look for synergies between your brand and the cause. Involve people on both sides. Involve consumers. Be creative.
8. Tell the truth, the whole truth. Corporate transparency is now the way of the world. Consumers, especially Awakening Consumers, don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be honest. Admit your flaws, and let people know what you’re doing to fix them.
9. Be genuine. Sustainability initiatives and sustainable marketing has to be real and authentic. It needs to be embraced by everyone involved with the brand, from the person who answers the phone to the CEO. It should be part of your brand’s DNA, not some superficial, jumping-on-the-bandwagon gesture. To help avoid this, think long term, and think big.
10. Have fun. We’ve created ads for a global warming campaign that are laugh out loud funny. Humor may not be right for every topic or communication, but how many doom-and-gloom people do you like to hang out with?
Hat-tip to Ivan for the link.
A little while ago I posted a few websites that are doing their bit to help the planet. Here’s a few more to add to the list:
makemesustainable.com – A very cool green site where you can create and track your carbon footprint and share you footprint profile with others. MakeMeSustainable then gives you suggestions on how to reduce your footprint. It’s great. The social networking aspect of the site also introduces a dose of peer pressure into the equation.
myabodo.com is another cool idea. This is a flash website for kids, where they can create an eco-friendly home online, and learn about sustainability along the way. You can look at other people’s homes, and share your houses with others via myspace widgets. Pretty neat.
I like rentoid.com because people can earn money renting out their stuff (And also because I’m friends with the founders). Most of the items available for rent are here in Melbourne, but that shouldn’t stop you from listing some of your own items to rent out.
Every now and then, I like to summarise what my key thoughts are marketing. Or, at least jot down a whole heap of big picture ideas about the world, and their implications on marketing.
So here goes for July 2007:
1. Green Marketing is a necessity.
2. We’re moving away from a globalised marketing world. People were buying cheap, mass produced and mass marketed products, but that’s changing. Why?
3. Word of Mouth Marketing has always been good. These days it’s a whole lot better.
4. Web 2.0 and the internet has changed the marketing game.
5. At the end of the day, it’s just about being a ‘Nice Guy’
6. ALL of these thoughts are inter-realated
7. What better time has there been to be involved marketing!
I’m serious about this last point. Who would have thought that an industry like marketing might just have a positive influence on the world?
I’d love to hear some of your thoughts and comments about all this, as well as some ideas of your own. Don’t be shy – leave me a comment.
Is there any doubt that the UK is leading the way when it comes to Green Marketing?
Here is a great video, put on earlier this month by PSFK. It includes John Grant from Greennormal and Diana Verde Nieto from Clownfish, among others. It’s compulsory viewing for all you green marketers out there.
It really is impressive to hear so many examples of big businesses going green. BUT:
No doubt there have been some huge inroads to sustainable business in 2007. But there’s still a long way to go.
Who says computer geeks can’t save the planet? Here’s four great websites that illustrate the potential of the internet.
1. Kiva – an incredible website that lets you lend money to entrepreneurs in the developing world.
“Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence.”
3. dotherightthing.com – keeps an eye on big business.
“dotherightthing is a place online where you can get unfiltered information about the impacts of companies on people and the world and make it worth their while to “do the right thing.”
“Hugg is a new project by TreeHugger —a source for user-generated green news. What does this mean? It’s simple—how many times have you found an article, a video or a website that you’ve wanted to share with all your green friends? Well, Hugg lets you to share this stuff with everyone.”
You’d have to say that Seth Godin is onto something with his latest post, entitled ‘[More] or (Less)‘
Our green marketing challenge isn’t about getting people to want less (less carbon, less waste, less energy use). It’s about getting people to want more.
We all want more. That’s the problem. So let’s make more less.
But if more was less (More fuel efficiency, more recycling, more carbon footprint reduction) things might just work out OK.
Bravo, Mr Godin.
The buzz around the blogosphere today is all about the unveling of Apple’s new iPhone. Steve Jobs announced it at MacWorld in San Francisco today, and Apple’s stock price goes through the roof. Again, Apple seem to have kicked one right between the two tall sticks.
But despite our love for Apple, they have a long way to go when it gomes to environmental credentials. For me, and probably thousands of other Mac users across the world, this doesn’t sit right. I Loooove my MacBook and iPod like they were my children. But my loyalty for Apple would be even more cult-like if they were were a little more environmentally friendly.
I mean, how can one of the world’s coolest brands miss the mark when it comes to the world’s next biggest marketing opportunity, Going Green?
I love what Greenpeace have been up to recently. Their “Green My Apple” campaign is a terrific take-off of Apple’s website – If you haven’t seen it I throuroughly recommend you have a look. They are asking apple to do 2 things:
- Remove the worst toxic chemicals from all their products and production lines.
- Offer and promote free “take-back” for all their products everywhere they are sold.
Greenpeace have received their fair share of critisicm over the years, but this campaign, designed to raise awareness that Apple are less than green, is a really positive one. Why do I like it?
Now if only Apple listened to its customers and Greenpeace, and made some serious changes to their environmental policies … Only then would Apple be the most invincible brand in history.