Jacquie Ottman's
Green Marketing Blog

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 appeal: "There's No Small Change" a campaign launched earlier this year with assistance from J. Ottman Consulting, empowers the bank's customers and would-be customers with a raft of steps, both large and small, to reduce their environmental footprint.

This is the kind of well-crafted sustainability branding message — necessarily rooted in substantive green efforts — that I've been advocating in these pages, and so far it has been well received. This week, Philips launched a similar customer-focused branding push. Time will tell whether consumers have sufficient faith in the environmental reputation of the brand to buy into the current campaign.

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