Jacquie Ottman's
Green Marketing Blog

Why Education is Key to Green Marketing Success

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 appreciate. Many consumers, not knowing what a CFC was, likely thought the appliance to be deficient.

For advertisers that make the effort to teach, educational messages represent special opportunities to boost involvement, enhance imagery, and bolster credibility.

Demonstrate how environmentally superior products can help consumers safeguard their health, preserve the environment for their grandkids, or protect the outdoors for recreation and wildlife. Make environmental benefits tangible through compelling illustrations and statistics, and you will make consumers feel as if their choices make a difference.

Have We Met Before?

In 2008, Pepsi launched an empowering Have We Met Before? recycling campaign. It featured fun fact-based messages from the National Recycling Coalition that underscored the difference recycling can make, and it encouraged consumers to make recycling a part of their daily routine. Two factoids emblazoned on specially designed cans included: “Recycling could save 95% of the energy used to make this can” and “The average person has the opportunity to recycle 25,000 cans in a lifetime.”

Excerpted from The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding (Berrett-Koehler 2011) by Jacquelyn A. Ottman. Ottman is an expert adviser on green marketing to Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. government.  Her firm’s website, containing more information about the book, is http://www.greenmarketing.com.

 Recent blog posts:

How to Choose the Right Eco-Label

Toyota’s Prius: Different Strokes for Different Folks

Focus on Consumer Self-Interest to Win Today’s Green Customer

Subscribe to Jacquie Ottman’s Green Marketing Blog. Link here.

Learn more about Ottman’s new workshop on November 29-30, 2011, “Profiting from the New Rules of Green Marketing”, here.


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