Green marketing Blog
Posted on December 06, 2012 by Jacquie Ottman & Mark Eisen
Communicating the benefits of “biobased” content, the world’s newest ecological marketing term, is often tricky. Biobased represents all of green marketing’s traditional challenges — including greenwash — but has additional, unique challenges all its own. Happily, strategies and a credible third party label now exist.
Opportunities For Biobased Products and Packaging
There are many reasons for a business to use biobased content instead of traditional petroleum-based ingredients in their products, including: it helps grow the farm economy, promotes energy independence, and helps manage carbon impacts, providing a useful hedge against potential future …Read more...
Posted on October 11, 2012 by Jacquelyn Ottman
It only took them 20 years (The first Guides were issued in 1992), but then again, as the saying goes, every overnight sensation is twenty years in the making. Maybe the FTC Green Guide staff put in their 10,000 hours, but, at last, they nailed it. The revisions to the Green Guides, published on October 1, 2012, shows that the …Read more...
Posted on May 22, 2012 by Michelle Hardy, Guest Blogger
Good green marketers push the innovation of different products. Better products. But can we profit from making fewer products in the first place? “Swap Don’t Shop,” the most recent of the Columbia Business School Alumni Club’s Making Green from Green events, explored this very dilemma.
The panel began with a sobering point; Moderator Cameron Tonkinwise of the Parsons School of Design Strategies reminded his audience of green business advocates that for all the sustainable sourcing, the holistic manufacturing, the reusable materials, and whatever else constitutes our so-called …Read more...
Posted on April 24, 2012 by Jacquelyn Ottman
This year seemed to produce a bumper crop of Earth Day promotions — and a lot of accompanying media backlash. Stories written by Marc Gunther, Matt Wheeland, and a NYTimes piece by Elisabeth Rosenthal are three I saw and I’m sure you saw more yourself.
The media are making Earth Day marketers look like the moneychangers in the temple. Why is this happening? What can we do about it?
It’s happening because of dyed-in-the-wool skepticism over business’s real motives when it comes to the environment. Accordingly, it’s happening …Read more...
Posted on February 03, 2012 by Jacquelyn Ottman
In his recently released Greener Products: The Making and Marketing of Sustainable Brands (2012, CRC Press, 222 pp.), Al Iannuzzi offers a detailed and persuasive case for incorporating sustainability into your business model. Examining both the making and the marketing of green products, his writing is firmly situated in the language of business — making it a useful resource for both business leaders and students alike.
Iannuzzi’s message is rooted in two core truths that we believe in strongly. First, there is no such thing as a truly green product: every product …Read more...
Posted on January 11, 2012 by Jacquie Ottman & Mark Eisen
Our economy is slowly but surely heeding the signal that carbon is the new watchword. During the past few years, a steady stream of so-called “biobased” products have been making their way to retail shelves — compostable dinnerware made from corn, plant-based laundry detergents, and bamboo flooring among them. Coke and Pepsi are now competing to be first to market with a soft drink bottle derived entirely from sugarcane or other plant materials.
The emerging biobased economy even has its own label — USDA Certified Biobased, pictured here. It’s …Read more...
Posted on December 12, 2011 by Jacquelyn Ottman
In their new book The Method Method: 7 Obsessions that Helped Our Scrappy Start-up Turn an Industry Upside Down, Method cofounders Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry with co-author Lucas Conley take the occasion of their unconventional company’s tenth anniversary to step back, and offer readers the opportunity to peek inside their business, learning from their mistakes and acquiring the secrets to their success.
The Method Method offers a refreshingly honest look at how to create and maintain a successful business in a changing market where consumers …Read more...
Posted on November 21, 2011 by Jacquelyn Ottman
Some chemicals are safer than others, and the U.S. EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics’s voluntary Design for the Environment label can help consumers identify all purpose cleaners, laundry detergents and other products that have met performance measures and are known to contain the safest possible ingredients. Since its inception in 1997, the label has been earned by over 2700 products. (Full disclosure: DfE is a former client of mine.)
A product of EPA’s now twenty-year-old Design for the Environment (DfE) Program, the DfE label is based upon product review criteria developed with …Read more...
Posted on October 26, 2011 by Jacquelyn Ottman
Given the complexities of greening, properly educating consumers can make the difference in the success of a campaign. One green marketer who learned the hard way about the need to educate is Whirlpool. In the early 1990s they won a $30 million “Golden Carrot” award that was put up by the U.S. Department of Energy and a consortium of electrical utilities for being the first to market with a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free refrigerator. But they misjudged consumer’s willingness to pay a 10% premium for a product with an environmental benefit that many did not …Read more...
Posted on October 19, 2011 by Jacquelyn Ottman
Eco-labels are an excellent way to enhance credibility for green marketing claims, but they are not without risk. While 28% of consumers look to green certification seals or labels to confirm that a product adheres to claims, these labels can also confuse. Happily there’s enough method within the madness for marketers to pave a way forward.
More than 400 different eco-labels or green certification systems are now on the market. Questions such as which label is better, which product is safer for the environment and what does a label even …Read more...
Posted on October 12, 2011 by Jacquelyn Ottman
The mainstreaming of green brings with it the need to segment audiences. As marketing efforts behind the Toyota Prius demonstrate, targeting messages to specific consumer groups can broaden appeal.
When launching the Prius in 2001, Toyota opted to target not the green-leaning drivers one might expect, but rather tech-savvy “early adopter” consumers. Featuring a beauty shot of a shiny new car parked at a stop light and illustrated by the provocative headline, “Ever heard the sound a stoplight makes?” an introductory print ad emphasized the hybrid car’s quiet ride (and specifically the fact …Read more...
Posted on October 05, 2011 by Jacquelyn Ottman
If your green ads showcase the now tiresome images of babies, daisies, and planets, your messages will likely be irrelevant to mainstream consumers. Eco-imagery may have tugged at the purse-strings of “deep green” consumers, but their lighter green counterparts, who make up the bulk of the market, want to know how even the greenest of products benefit them personally. While the environment may be the underlying reason a product was created or upgraded, it will likely not be the primary motivation for consumers to choose your brand over those of competitors.
Avoid green marketing myopia
In other words, don’t commit …Read more...
Posted on September 20, 2011 by Jacquelyn Ottman
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 sell.
The monumental success of cause marketing campaigns thus …Read more...
Posted on September 06, 2011 by Jacquelyn Ottman
Good 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 now put non-recyclable items such as food wrappers to work …Read more...
Posted on August 10, 2011 by Jacquelyn Ottman
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, leaving consumers confused about what’s actually true. But we don’t …Read more...