Be Genuine

Today’s post is ripped completely from Brand Autopsy. It’s a quote by longtail extraordinaire Chris Anderson about being genuine:

“Genuine is an e-mail from a person rather than a company. If the lead singer of some band that I like sends out an e-mail to those of us who have registered our interest, that’s authentic in a way that a record label sending out an e-mail wouldn’t be. If the lead singer responds to his e-mail, that’s even better. A MySpace page is more authentic than a billboard. A blog is more authentic than a press release. It’s all about having a human voice and re-personalizing the connections.”

“The key is in catalyzing word of mouth. If consumers don’t trust institutions and do trust individuals, if they don’t want to be marketed at and do want to be influenced by their peers, how can marketers influence those influencers, those alpha peers? Some companies have done lots of experiments in this. There are fake blogs and fake viral videos and fake buzz marketing. It sometimes works, but if you’re busted, it turns into a PR nightmare.”

There’s nothing really new or surprising here. But from time to time, it’s nice to hear someone reiterate these thoughts.

Thanks John. And Chris. Quote via Deliver Magazine.

Four websites to save the world

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“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.”

2. Green Options – A great green living site, run by my good friend Shea Gunther.

Green Options“Green Options focuses on giving you the knowledge and resources you need in greening up your life.

3. dotherightthing.com – keeps an eye on big business. rightthing.gif

“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.”

4. hugg.com – I’ve hugged Hugg before – the top ‘Digg’ website for environmental news.Hugg

“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.”

More, not less

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.

Best Campaign Ever?

beer_bag03.jpg

Not too long ago, I shot out a quick post about the worst campaign ever.

Which tonight has me thinking – what’s the best campaign ever? There’s a lot of bad marketing out there. But once in a while you come across something truly wonderful.

In my mind, the greatest marketing campaign of recent history was from Crumpler – the home-grown Aussie brand of messenger bags has taken on the world in recent years.

Crumpler’s “Beer for Bags” campaign, was a stroke of genius. In a nutshell: For a limited time you could go to Crumpler stores, hand over a case of beer, and you’d get one of their messenger bags. No cash involved. Just pass over a slab of Coopers Pale Ale and a Crumpler bag was yours. The campaign started here in Melbourne but is now running in the US as well.

Two reasons why I think this campaign is so damn good:

  • It’s a true Word of Mouth campaign. Of course you’re going to tell your mates about something like this.
  • It doesn’t feel, look or smell like marketing. The return on investment (ROI) isn’t obvious. Did they make money on this? Who knows. Were they trying to? Probably not. This one is just about having a little fun.

Too often, marketing campaigns are so blatant. They look like an attempt to get more revenue. But that’s not the key to having truly loyal customers. Today’s most successful brands – the ones with with real brand fanatics, aren’t continually devising ways to make money from them.

If you haven’t come across Crumpler, their entire strategy is, well, an anti-strategy. It’s hard to believe that a company like this even use the word strategy. I’m sure they don’t. Instead, they just do cool stuff, including:

  1. Their website
  2. Their flagship store on Smith St, Collingwood (where you can customise your own bags)
  3. The product names (for example, “The moderate embarrasment”, “The breakfast buffet” and “The salary sacrifice”).

Now I’m a Freitag man myself, but as a marketer I drool over such clever, fun marketing.

I once told an old school-friend, Bianca, who worked for Crumpler at the time, that the brand was in danger of becoming ubiqutous, which would ultimately lead to it’s demise. How wrong I was. The brand continues to grow, and Bianca is now Crumpler’s US marketing director. I should have known better.

Is the Internet just a Fad?

No, it’s not. Here’s why:

Greener Apples, but are they good enough?

Back in January I wrote about Greenpeace’s amazing campaign to make Apple go green, which encouraged Apple users to work together to persuade the company to improve it’s nasty environmental record.

Now, it seems, they are listening. Steve Jobs has announced that Apple will be removing toxic chemicals and introducing recycling programs (in the US anyway). From his announcement:

It is generally not Apple’s policy to trumpet our plans for the future; we tend to talk about the things we have just accomplished. Unfortunately this policy has left our customers, shareholders, employees and the industry in the dark about Apple’s desires and plans to become greener. Our stakeholders deserve and expect more from us, and they’re right to do so. They want us to be a leader in this area, just as we are in the other areas of our business. So today we’re changing our policy.

This certainly is good news. Apple have shown that they do listen to their customers, and are willing to become a more environmentally friendly company.

But is this enough? I don’t think so.

We are entering a new marketing era. The truly excellent green marketers will be environmentally pro-active, designing and manufacturing products and services that are green to the core. Not just because their consumers ask for it, but because really, it is the only choice. Apple’s decision to go green may be a step in the right direction – but it’s still a reactive move.

We’re going to see some amazing new companies that are hugely successful by launching products that are irresistible and green (yes, the two can exist together). Doing anything else just wont cut it anymore.

Unsustainable = Addiction?

 John Grant poses an interesting question over at Greenormal – that our unsustainable life-styles are like an addiction:

“you realize on an intellectual level that your patterns of consumption are destructive, but you do not really alter your attitudes and actions.”

It’s interesting to think that if we are Addicted to something like cars, then cars no longer hold such status.  And so perhaps an green marketing needs to consider that we are all ‘addicted’ to sustainability. And that green marketing’s role is to find a solution to our addictions, just like a drug-addict needs to. Interesting stuff.

Anyone with an interest in Green Marketing should head straight over to Greenormal (now!) – John’s blog and forthcoming book is a green marketing wake-up call. Super-duper reading.