Jacquie Ottman's
Green marketing Blog

Jacquie Ottman's Green Marketing Blog

Ideals on Wheels

Bicycle Rental ProgramIn many cities bicyclists battle it out with taxis for a share of the road. But all Parisians seem to agree that bicycles are a convenient, cheap, trendy, and emission-free way for locals and tourists to get around town. Representing the biking equivalent of car sharing, in 2007 the city of Paris launched Vélib, a pay-as-you-go bicycle rental program.

Bikes can be rented for pre-paid amounts of time ranging from 30 minutes to one week, and then dropped off …Read more...

 

Doing Cause Marketing Right

Once considered a short-term promotional tactic, cause marketing is now a mature, long-term strategic business practice that can enhance brand image and boost sales. Most importantly, cause-related products give businesses an impact that goes far beyond mere tax-deductible checks (philanthropy).

Several successful brands are making social causes central to their business. Consider the enormously successful TOMS One for One campaign, which gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of their rubber-soled alpargatas shoes they …Read more...

 

Why Empowering Children is Key to Green Marketing Success

Terracycle Outsmart WasteGood green marketing is all about making an investment in the future of the planet by promoting sustainability and protecting the environment. So it is only natural that successful green marketing campaigns can and should involve children, offering an opportunity for building life-long brand loyalty.

TerraCycle, the innovative New Jersey outfit founded by Princeton University dropout Tom Szaky, first made headlines in 2006 by selling fertilizer made from worm poop to The Home Depot and other major retailers. They …Read more...

 

Don’t Let Skepticism Stifle Your Green Efforts

Ask businesses why they don’t tout green achievements more often, and their answer will likely be fear of greenwash.

Before you let such fears deter you from making investments in sustainable technology or promoting your green achievements, consider how difficult it is for any advertiser to gain consumer trust.

Consumers have always been skeptical of advertising. Take the food industry, for example. Food brands have long been under government scrutiny for their advertising claims. Today, companies are getting smeared for overpromising health benefits, …Read more...

 

Earth to Eco-Labels: Be Consumer Useful or Wither From Lack of Relevance

Everyone lauds eco-labels being put forth by such sustainability leaders as Timberland, HP and Levi’s for transparency and commitment, but are they really all that useful to consumers? Likely not.  These labels may be informative and project credibility, but I believe their usefulness can—and must—be taken up a notch.

An eco-label’s greatest value is not its ability to simply convey environmental stewardship; rather, an eco-label’s worth lies in how clearly it relates green qualities to what I call “consumer-useful” information. Labels with consumer-useful information put the practical, valuable aspects …Read more...

 

Why Guilt Won’t Sell Green

In the midst of a national energy crisis in 1978, U.S. president Jimmy Carter took to the airwaves in a cardigan sweater encouraging Americans to conserve energy by turning the thermostat to 68º F. His campaign failed because of its link to deprivation, and because it represented a threat to the upward mobility and prosperity that is America.

While some may question the idea that “bigger is better,” most Americans have not historically been willing to reverse their hard-won struggles to “have” for a …Read more...

 

40% Off The New Rules of Green Marketing to Mark Top 40 Status

Green Marketing Guide

As many of you know, The New Rules of Green Marketing was recently named a Top 40 Sustainability Book of 2010 by the Cambridge University (UK) Program for Sustainability Leadership. This honor is …Read more...

 

How Consumers Can Share Responsibility for Greening

Tom’s of Maine can make the toothpaste more natural, but they can’t force consumers to turn the water off when they brush. Coke can make the bottles recyclable, but only consumers can drop them in the blue bin. Sun Chips can make the bags compostable, but only consumers can see that they get to a composting pile instead of a trash can.

Communications can fill this gap. With life cycle risks escalating over time, green marketers must now educate their consumers on how to …Read more...

 

Running On Human Power

While researchers are looking to the sun, the wind and even ocean tides to source renewable energy, some have found an answer much closer to home: the gym.  This notion dawned on the owner of a string of gyms in Hong Kong, who rigged cycling and cross-training machines to power a gym’s lights and store extra energy in batteries for later use.

The Human Power Trainer, made by Windstream Power LLC of North Ferrisburg, Vermont, works on the same concept. It mounts a …Read more...

 

Let the Consumer Decide “What is Green?”

scaleYou hear a lot of talk about the “sin of the hidden trade-offs.” I’ve got news for you, folks. Greening—like life itself—is all about the trade-offs! No product is 100% “green.” So, considering that all products use energy and create waste, green is a relative term. One product is green-er for someone at some time in some place.

Green is Relative
For instance, cloth diapers might not cause any trees to be chopped down, but they do use a lot of hot …Read more...

 

New Nissan Ads Shift the Way Car Buyers Evaluate Options

Nissan Ad 062311Many new green brands have been introduced over the years with what I’ve called “green marketing myopic” pitches (think GE’s “dancing elephants” and Conoco’s “cheering dolphins”), only to realize the opportunity to link environmental product attributes with the primary reasons why consumers buy (all) products in the first place.  Nissan fell into this camp with the polar bear ads for their new LEAF electric vehicle. However, their new campaign suggests that Nissan’s marketing team is on an vertical learning …Read more...

 

Why Eco-Innovation is the Best Response to Greenwashing

As the kickoff speaker to the Sustainable Brands ‘11 conference in Monterey last week, I took it upon myself to lower the boom on greenwash. Rather than trying to parse out the “sins” among us, I encouraged the several hundred participants to focus on what I believe are much larger problems, among them: better products, and an industry that’s ready, willing and able to self-regulate.

Yes, mystifying claims certainly threaten the legitimacy of sustainable business. Exaggerating the evils of greenwashing, however, may gradually discredit the entire green market as a …Read more...

 

What Greenwash Can Learn from Snake Oil

snake oilIf we treat greenwash, we’re treating a symptom. We’re not finding and treating the problem, if indeed there is one, at least to the extent the hype would lead one to believe.  We have to realize that first, the definition of greenwash is to be intentionally misleading. We don’t think that’s the case today, except in limited instances.  Some history is in order.

In probably what could be thought of as the first era of …Read more...

 

Are We Ready to Move Sustainability Forward?

compass guiding green marketingAs I asserted to hundreds of attendees at the Sustainable Brands ‘11 conference last evening, greenwash is not the real problem holding consumers back from getting more involved in sustainability. Greenwash is merely a symptom of what I believe to be the real problem—an immature industry ‘eco-system’. The ‘eco-system’ of stakeholders that supports us is not broken—it just hasn’t matured around us. We have marketers who are inadvertently greenwashing because they don’t know better and importantly, …Read more...

 

“New Rules of Green Marketing” Named One of Top 40 Books on Sustainability

Green Marketing GuideI’m thrilled to announce that my book The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding  was recently named to the list of Top 40 Sustainability Books of 2010 by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL), University of Cambridge (U.K.).

Other titles on the list include: Our Choice (Al Gore), Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid (Ted London & Stuart L. Hart), The Power of Sustainable Thinking (Bob Doppelt), and Prosperity …Read more...

 

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