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...


Underscore Health Benefits to Add Relevance to Green Marketing Messages

AVM Safecoat Paint

As I have said numerous times over the years, the number one reason why consumers buy greener products is not to “save the planet” but to save their own health. AFM understands this well—and puts their understanding of this green marketing fundamental to work in two ads that do a great job of underscoring the health benefits of their line of Safecoat paint.

One ad features 16 buckets of paint lined up in a row. Fifteen of the buckets are painted …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...


How to Avoid Greenwash

Greenwashing—communicating (even unintentiionally) that one’s product or company is greener than it actually is—is the Number One challenge of green marketers today. Greenwashers can expect swift retribution from consumers, advocates and the media in the forms of lost sales and tarnished reputation.

To help smooth the way for our clients and other green marketers, I’ll be moderating a special virtual conference on Thursdday, Jan 14, 2010.  It’s called: Building Credibility, Avoiding Greenwash.

Join us online for a look at unfolding strategies and best practices for establishing credibility for your sustainable …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...


Happy Birthday J. Ottman Consulting—Celebrating 20 Years

Dear Clients and Friends,

Today marks twenty years since I started J. Ottman Consulting.

A lot has happened since 1989!  I thought green would be mainstream by 1995 (!), but I’m delighted to see it’s finally here.

In 1989 there were no green conferences, books on green marketing or green websites (or even the Web).  Today it’s gratifying to go to conferences, socialize on Twitter and Linked In, and see how many consumers, professionals and organizations are now incorporating the environment into their decisions and purchasing.


Watch Out, Prius!

The Toyota Prius currently dominates the market for hybrid cars, but the Honda Insight wants to change that. Who will come out on top in 2009? By Jacquelyn Ottman, with Sarah McGrath

After selling 285,000 Priuses in 2008, Toyota’s star vehicle has taken a big hit in 2009—sales are down 45 percent since January. To compound Toyota’s hybrid troubles, Honda re-launched its Insight hybrid earlier this spring—right on the heels of the introduction of the Prius Third Generation. Based on our assessment of the marketing efforts behind the …Read more...


Scott Naturals—Green Done Right?

Does a new line of green paper products really live up to its tag line of “Green Done Right?” By Jacquelyn Ottman, with Sarah McGrath

On Earth Day, April 22, 2009, Kimberly-Clark launched Scott Naturals, a line of household paper products made from partially recycled content. Marketing communications sport the tag line “Green Done Right.” One could argue this line overstates Kimberly-Clark’s achievement, but the company deserves to be lauded for taking a step in the right direction.

“Turn over a NEW leaf…and take a green step without …Read more...


EcoPower to the People

Whom do you trust to make green marketing claims? The answers surprised us. Yesterday at the Sustainable Brands ’09 Conference in Monterey, California, we polled all 350 participants about the notion of trust when it comes to verifying green claims and create standards for products.

We specifically asked these on the cutting edge of green and sustainability leaders and activists who they themselves trusted to this important task, who consumers trusted, and who they thought was best equipped to verify claims and create standards for green products and …Read more...


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