Shades Of Green

Brands have been going green for several years now. Corporations hungry to find fresh ways to bolster the bottom line pursue sustainability initiatives with feverish intensity.

With equal zealotry, consumer watchdog groups expose the falsity of many so-called green initiatives. Green posers are being hung out to dry. A quick visit to the green-washing index exposes numerous brands making questionable claims.

As a result, consumer skepticism is higher than ever.

This makes it tricky for brands with genuine green credentials to market themselves on that basis. However, brands with authentic green stories possess a powerful source of brand mojo that should be activated. By brand mojo I mean more than strong positioning fundamentals. A brand with mojo has a dynamic inner energy that makes it irresistible. In today's hyper competitive environment, brand mojo is the secret sauce that can push a brand from being a solid performer to one that captures the imagination of the public and succeeds in a big way.

For those brands with real green mojo, here are a couple of factors to keep in mind:

Green is Big Business but Turnabout is Fair Play

Women, in particular, are noting those brands making genuine effort towards cleaning up their environmental impact. They reward those brands with their wallets. In fact, 69% of women will choose a green brand over others if it delivers on price and performance, too.

But women are master communicators. A full 74% of women talk to friends and families about their good and bad brand experiences. So a brand must live up to its green promises. Loose lips sink ships.

Transparency Rising

In 2011, transparency is a trend powerfully impacting consumer's assessment of brands. A backlash to the financial crisis and the debacle around executive compensation has put companies under the microscope. Full disclosure is a new prerequisite in marketing, especially when it comes to green initiatives.

Green's New Greens Fees

Brands with genuine green mojo muscle to flex should go for it. It can add a shot of adrenalin to your business. But ask yourself these questions before putting your green mojo on the center stage:

  • Is being green really at the core of your brand's reason for being? Make sure your brand was born to offer consumers an environmentally friendly option. Take note of brands like Mrs. Meyers, designed from the start to offer a green cleaning alternative. They showcase their green ingredients because that is why they exist.
  • Are sustainable solutions so inherent to your corporate culture that thinking 'green' permeates company programs beyond marketing? Note student competitions run by companies like Electrolux. Study the investments they make to bring eco-innovation forward. These efforts won't immediately translate into a greener bottom line, but they advance the company in line with contemporary culture.
  • Is your brand willing to be honest about its green Achilles heels? Nobody is perfect. Particularly when it comes to being green. But be authentic. Don't try to fudge your way through it.
  • Was your brand green before it was fashionable to wear that color? This is the simplest question and the most telling. If your answer isn't yes, think long and hard before trying to lay claim to a green story. If its not authentic, it could fall flat.
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