Jacquie Ottman's
Green marketing Blog

Jacquie Ottman's Green Marketing Blog

Stand By Your Cause: What Marketers Can Learn From Dawn’s Involvement In The Gulf Oil Spill

Washing Bird with DawnLong marketed by Procter & Gamble as an “effective yet gentle” way to keep dishes free from even the greasiest of grease, Dawn dishwashing liquid was widely publicized during the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in 1989 as an ideal way to remove residue from afflicted bird and mammal species.

Fast forward to mid-April 2010, just days before the 40th anniversary celebration of Earth Day. P&G decided to create awareness for its 30-year long support of bird rescue groups …Read more...


To Sell Green, Look Beyond the Planet

This past Tuesday I opened my morning New York Times and decided one of my favorite columnists, Jane E. Brody, should be selling green. Her article (which I paraphrase in tribute here), entitled, To Keep Moving, Look Beyond the Physical, describes various motivators to get people to exercise beyond the specific benefits of the exercise itself. Borrowing the motivational approach often used by commecial marketers— an “emotional hook that creates positive meaningful expectations of how exercise can enhance people’s lives, a way to feel better,” she describes such non-health …Read more...


A Smart New Way to Segment Green Consumers

When you target customers, it helps to know if they’re “dark green”, “light green” or “basic brown” in their attitudes, but, with so many green issues, products, and labels out there, it may be more relevant to your branding and communications to understand their personal green interests.

Ask: To which environmental organizations do members of our target audience belong (The Appalachian Mountain Club or Greenpeace)? Which types of vacations do they take (hiking or the beach)? Which environmental magazines and websites do they read or visit? (Sierra or Animal Fair?) …Read more...


When it Comes to Marketing Green Appliances, Silence is Golden

Ads for Bosch’s super quiet, high performance appliances make a point about doing green marketing right loud and clear: focus on the benefits most relevant to consumers.

As I discuss at more length in my soon-to-be-published book, “Consumers buy products to meet basic needs, not (primarily) to save the planet.” Said another way, consumers walk into the store with their, well, consumer caps on, not citizen ones.

Commercials for Bosch’s super-energy efficient appliances focus on how quiet they are, with secondary emphasis on their environmentally preferable attributes. In one ad …Read more...


Opportunities for Marketing to the Green Consumer

Consumers buy over $200 billion of natural personal care and cleaning products, organic produce, hybrid cars, fair trade coffee, compostable plates and cups, and other green products and services.

Please join me on February 4, 2010 (in New York City) for Opportunities to Market to the Green Consumer.  Network with members of the Columbia Business School Alumni Club and other senior marketing professionals from New York.  Listen to green marketing practitioners from HSBC, Ozocar and Sundance Channel talk about opportunities to build green brands, innovate new products and services, and …Read more...


Guest Blog: Green Marketing and the Simultaneous Pursuit of Growth and Reputation Enhancement

This is a guest blog post, written by Eric Lowitt.

A company that I admire shared a story that highlights a green marketing conundrum faced by a growing number of companies. The story, told by a progressive drink distributor, went something like this:

The company held an off-site with the salesforce dedicated to one of their key accounts. The company invited executives from the key account to present ways the company could increase sales through the account. Nestled among the usual suspects was “prove that you are a sustainability leader.”



Earn Your Sustainability Certificate!

Looking to learn more about sustainable business? Want to switch into a green job?  Consider earning a certificate in Sustainability from the MAKING GREEN FROM GREEN Sustainability Certificate Series hosted by the Columbia Business School Alumni Club of NY (which I Co-Chair). All you need to do is attend 6 of the 8 topics in order to be certified. (OK to just attend one or two events, too -- and you don't have to be a member of the Columbia B School Club, the series is open to all.)

This …


Why Jacquie Ottman’s Green Marketing Remains Relevant

Guest post by Peter Korchnak, who writes the Sustainable Marketing Blog.

I recently read for the first time and reviewed Jacquie Ottman's Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation (2nd edition) and this is what struck me: "[M]ost of what I read nowadays about sustainability and marketing, Jacquie covered in Green Marketing more than a decade ago."

Though sustainability* has made inroads throughout the corporate world, with the likes of Nike and Walmart implementing sustainable practices on a large scale, green marketing literature and blogs recycle the …Read more...


What If Mainstream Consumers Don’t Care About Green?

A professor from India queried me this morning about this intriguing green marketing question: How are we going to serve the customer who is not at all worried about green? In India with the kind of population we have the awareness levels I feel India is going to be a tough market where people are more price concious than Environment.

Government may or may not provide any incentive to the green consumer.

My answer (and I hope it's not too glib): Not to worry!  Most green products simply work …Read more...


Green Marketing Success Strategies From Sustainable Brands ‘09

Optimism is the sentiment coming from the Sustainable Brands 09 conference taking place in Monterey, California this week.  Consumer polls suggest that concern about the environment (relative to the economy) and stated intent to spend premiums on green brands is holding up in a tight times. Importantly, this is being played out in the green marketplace as well.

Concrete case examples of brand successes being presented at the conference suggests that pursuing a course of sustainable branding is indeed the route to sustainability even—against a backdrop of the toughest …Read more...


A Tale of Two Green Surveys

One recent consumer survey says it is the best of green times; another, the worst of green times. Has trying to protect the environment gone out the window in the current recession - or not?By Jacquelyn Ottman, with Lisa Martin

The 2009 Cone Consumer Environmental Survey, released in February, maintains that, "Consumer interest in environmental purchasing not eclipsed by poor economy." The report finds that 34% of American consumers indicate they are more likely to buy environmentally responsible products today, and another 44% indicate that their environmental shopping …Read more...


Does a Weak Economy Mean Weak Green Sales?

Green marketers of every stripe have been asking me: "Will a weak economy weaken sales of green products?" For people who think green products cost more, the answer is yes. To (reverse) paraphrase John F. Kennedy, a sinking sea should lower all boats. And it's still a little early to tell if sales of many green products and services have been hurt quarter to quarter.

The key thing to focus on, however, is how a softening economy might not dampen your own green products sales. In some cases, it just …Read more...


Exxon Called “Climate Friendy”...What Did You Expect?

The five companies consumers consider most "climate friendly" are GE, BP, Toyota, Wal-Mart, and Exxon. Here's why I'm not surprised (ok, maybe a little).

On the surface, the results of a recent survey by U.K.'s Climate Group and Lippincott, the brand consultancy firm, seem to fly in the face of what all card-carrying sustainability pros believe - walk the walk or consumers will cry "BS!" The survey found that 76% of Americans couldn't name a single "climate-friendly" company despite significant amounts of investment by American businesses attempting to portray their …Read more...


Green Marketing: What Not to Say

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. Here's how to avoid some common traps.

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 are some key takeaways.

  • Be specific. Marketers are liable not …


    Apples Versus Oranges: To Compare or Not?

    I received an email this morning from a frantic manufacturer of laptops: "We need to finalize a green marketing claim for an ad we're preparing. Our laptops use less energy than desktop computers. Should we make the claim? Help! We don't want to be accused of greenwash!" (Note: Company name not included and category has been changed for confidentiality - but you'll get my points!)

    On the surface a comparative green marketing claim such as this one looks pretty innocuous. However, dig a little deeper and you find some issues.


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