Jacquie Ottman's
Green marketing Blog

Jacquie Ottman's Green Marketing Blog

A Country Divided on Climate Change: What Green Marketers Can Learn

According to the 2008 American Climate Values Survey (ACVS), the American public is deeply divided on the issue of climate change. These deep rifts trace to such factors as religion, political affiliation, and even the perceived state of the economy. Understanding such dynamics creates an opportunity for green marketers to step in with relevant and targeted messages.   

Although public recognition of global warming has increased greatly over the past several years, climate change still remains relatively low on the list of priorities for all but the most …Read more...

 

What’s Law Got to Do with It?

An Australian law firm recently blamed fuzzy regulations by government bodies as a key source of confusion, and hence risk, for would-be green marketers. Is this a fair accusation? More importantly, is it even relevant?

While no government can be expected to stay completely current on a fast-moving green vernacular, it can be expected to define the territory in order to protect consumers from potentially fraudulent and misleading green terms. Government watchdogs such as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority are working hard to …Read more...

 

Play Ball with a Polluter—or Not?

ExxonMobil is coming around to the fact that a green reputation is necessary to compete. Among other steps, they are investing in their R3M technology to remotely detect oil and gas and reduce drilling. From a marketing perspective, they are running an extensive campaign in major dailies and newsweeklies, and among other things, are sponsoring the Washington Nationals’ LEED-certified baseball park.

But not everyone is so comfortable with Exxon’s green marketing efforts. Sponsorship of the baseball park is drawing flack from environmental activists, who are pressing the Nationals to …Read more...

 

Is There a gDiaper in Your Baby’s Future?

gdiapers

Can anyone topple the disposable diaper giants?  The makers of gDiapers promise an attractive, well fitting, convenient diaper that can be flushed, home composted or tossed. All parents want a diaper that is easy to dispose of, safe, absorbent, and affordable.  Can gDiapers provide all of this with less load on the planet?  Let’s see how the facts stack up.

Diaper Facts:  Sustainable vs. Conventional

There’s no doubt that disposables are the easiest to use.  All you do is undo the plastic …Read more...

 

Address Sustainability or Risk Not Being Sustained

In an age where sustainability has begun to assert itself across the consumer and business-to-business product spectrums, those managers who fail to respond to social and "green" initiatives will find their brands swiftly barred from consumers' hearts and pockets.

Films like Supersize Me and An Inconvenient Truth are radically altering the marketing landscape. In response to such media, McDonald's has launched a bevy of healthy alternatives, and the market for hybrid and alternative fuel (ethanol/bio-diesel) automobiles is booming.  This method of creating change through media has consumers better informed …Read more...

 

Déjà Vu All Over Again - Part II

Last month I discussed some of the green marketing missteps that we keep repeating no matter how many times we should have learned from hard experience that such tactics fall short. I suggested that rather than repeating these mistakes, perhaps the best solution is to move forward with new product innovations that truly transcend green marketing claims and eco-labels.

In fact, pursuing a course of eco-innovation - new product concepts with the potential for significantly enhanced consumer benefits and significantly reduced environmental impact - might be just what the …Read more...

 

How Far, Pray Tell?

How far have your products traveled from manufacturing plant or farmer's field to market? Perhaps it's time to tell your consumer. In a marketplace where more and more consumers want to know their carbon footprint, and the marketers themselves are often confused about how to craft their sustainability messages, meaningful, easy-to-understand information is at a premium. Too many think, for instance, that bamboo (which travels 6,000 miles to get to your floor) and fair trade bananas are going to "save the planet," when the truth is that locally procured alternatives …Read more...

 

It Isn’t Always So “Friendly” Being Green

Don’t join the growing number of marketers throwing around phrases like "environmentally friendly,” “Earth friendly," and "ozone friendly." While such claims have a calming ring, they can be very misleading. The simple fact is, there is no such thing as an "eco-friendly" product; all use resources and create waste to some degree. To avoid such confusion in the marketplace, the Federal Trade Commission introduced its Environmental Marketing Guidelines in 1992. Some key takeaways:

—Be specific. Marketers are liable not only for inaccurate statements but also for consumers' misinterpretations of …Read more...

 

Make It Your Own

Look around at the all green campaigns today and you'll see a focus on personal involvement, coupled with a glut of environmental advice such as purchasing CFLs. However, amidst all the clutter, the question arises: How can you differentiate your communications in a marketplace crowded with green advertising? The answer lies not in screaming for more energy efficient products, but by articulating your niche. Consumer empowerment marketing angles have merit, but the most powerful green messaging derives from core business functions. Bland claims of "win-win" situations, of "how to do …Read more...

 

Move Over Kermit - Employees Are Taking the Eco-Spotlight

To help spread the word about their new sustainability campaigns, leading companies including Coke, Anheuser Busch, and Ford are starting to leverage one of their most powerful assets: their employees.

Using employees to promote sustainable initiatives is a winning strategy. Why? Employees are “regular people” and, as such, they are much better equipped to gain more trust and confidence of prospective consumers than splashy Hollywood celebrities, million dollar CEOs, and paid pitchmen. Employees are objective critics of their companies' greenness. If employees are viewed as involved and openly on-board …Read more...

 

Before They Buy, Consumers Have to “Buy It”

Back in December 2004, HSBC became the first major bank to commit to carbon neutrality, aiming to improve energy efficiency, buy "green electricity," and then offset the remaining carbon dioxide emissions using carbon "allowance" or "credits." As a global bank with numerous offices and branches gobbling up significant amounts of fossil fuel-generated energy, HSBC made a smart strategic move by committing to carbon management. And the scope of that commitment, paired with the strong business case for action, gave HSBC the credibility it needed to deliver an effective sustainability-focused marketing …Read more...

 

Controlling Interest

Consumers' desire to control a world that's increasingly viewed as spinning out of control lies at the heart of green marketing. If they didn't feel that greener products made a difference, there would be no market for organic produce, non-toxic cleaners, or Energy Star-qualified appliances.


method, method cleaning products, environmental marketing, environmental consulting, green business

Getting Your Consumer to 'Bite':  Green Marketing Strategies

Empower your consumers with messages that underscore the difference they make as one consumer or in concert with all the other …Read more...

 

Green, No…Greener, Maybe

You'd never know it reading the press kits, but there's actually no such thing as a green product. All products use resources and create waste to some extent. At best, there are "greener" products that have less environmental impact than others. If you're mindful of a potential green backlash (and you should be!), develop your sustainability message with this in mind.

Are you reading this, Mercedes-Benz? I hope so. That "clean-air blue" motif is cutting it a bit fine. I read somewhere that Toyota's ad agency once presented them …Read more...

 

CFLs: It Takes a Team to Market a Lightbulb

CFLs have become the quintessential example of a mainstream green product. As proof, as of October of 2007, Wal-Mart announced that it had surpassed its goal of selling 100 million CFLs by the end of 2007, three months ahead of time.  However, this accomplishment was not so easily attained.  The current success of CFLs is due to the innovation and commitment of a virtual “village” of manufacturers, designers, and marketers.

Remember those early CFLs?  Too many consumers were reluctant to pay $15 versus 75 cents for an incandescent, despite …Read more...

 

Sustainable Branding in the 21st Century

sustainable brands image

Just got back from the Sustainable Brands 08 Conference, in Monterey, California. Over 550 people gathered to hear about the latest trends, see the leaders in sustainability speak, and learn about new tools to conduct their business in a better way.

I had the honor of keynoting the conference. Several of the points I made were iterated by many of the speakers and by participants via their insightful questions from the floor. So there's a lot of consensus out there about what …Read more...

 

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