Jacquie Ottman's
Green Marketing Blog

Make It Your Own

Look around at the all green campaigns today and you'll see a focus on personal involvement, coupled with a glut of environmental advice such as purchasing CFLs. However, amidst all the clutter, the question arises: How can you differentiate your communications in a marketplace crowded with green advertising? The answer lies not in screaming for more energy efficient products, but by articulating your niche. Consumer empowerment marketing angles have merit, but the most powerful green messaging derives from core business functions. Bland claims of "win-win" situations, of "how to do well by doing good," no longer cut it. Instead, work the environment into your products or services in a way that others do not.

Yahoo's new attempt to brand itself green provides a great example. Its new online education program, Yahoo Green, employs Yahoo's search and public forum functions to create a useful and adaptable site. The website, which is accompanied by corporate climate change commitments, employs the best of Yahoo's tools. Like so many others, Yahoo's site boasts generic environmental advice and calls to action. However, unlike most, the site offers many interactive features rooted in typical Yahoo services.

The site features blogging and open question & answer forums, which allow for grassroots, peer-to-peer information sharing. Yahoo's search capabilities lets it compile and archive the newest environmental articles, while banner ads geared towards green products help the site generate revenue. By integrating green efforts into core services, Yahoo is able to showcase its strengths while boosting its green credibility. With such a context, Yahoo's campaign will likely prove not only successful, but sustainable.

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