Never Too Late: 10 New Year's Resolutions

1. Exercise more
Find ways to connect senior management to products, and products to people. Get the CEO to walk the talk with employees and customers by taking your sustainability message into the community. At the very least, corporate leadership will gain a better understanding of the barriers you face when trying to sell stuff.

2. Spend more time with friends
Identify people who believe in what you are doing and let them tell your story. Authenticity is a rare currency. If you can’t find community influencers (such as faith or service club leaders, teachers or used car salesmen) who really believe in your product (and who are not your staff), think about what this means. Then change.

3. Eat better
It’s true. You are what you eat. Likewise, the people you include in your marketing team affect your outcome. Pick agencies that understand people. And build a genuine culture of conservation and efficiency internally by selecting creative marketing specialists who are values-driven and are not ashamed to admit it.

4. Spruce things up
Green is so 2007. Even the neighbors are suggesting that it’s time to rethink the color scheme or pay more attention to the very practical matter of whether you have enough chairs for guests (and if they are comfortable). People want things that work well, from brands that complement their values, at a reasonable price. Period.

5. Avoid wildlife
Leave the polar bears alone. They may look cuddly, but even if you find yourself in the Arctic in 2012 watching the last stranded cub slip off a melting ice flow, there’s nothing you could about it, and the mother would probably kill you if you tried. So, please, disconnect the plight of the polar bear from your product. If you want good mother-child motivation, consider getting to know your customers better. They’re right in your backyard.

6. Take more risks
No one ever utters: “If only we had built a better web portal” on their death bed. Step outside the comfort zone of traditional marketing by working with local NGOs that can provide new person-to-person channels that can leverage good products and create content for broader, more believable traditional marketing. Real stories sell.

7. Stop being so negative
Scare tactics and avoidance don’t make your mother-in-law change, and they won’t with consumers. Talk about the positive things you’re doing, and be honest about the bad stuff you’re trying to change. Maybe we will love you for who you are, warts and all. P.S. – The public is already scared.

8. Turn off the TV
There’s a deep and powerful undercurrent of longing for genuine connection in communities. Redirect traditional marketing to local engagement that stimulates conversations between neighbors. Use your product as the catalyst to tangible action that people talk about among their peers.

9. Take a good long look in the mirror
Why are you in this business? Let’s be honest: If making money is your number one priority, this will always be obvious to most people, and therefore someone will call you the sham that you are as long as you say that you care about the planet.

10. Listen to Mother
The signs are everywhere. Climate change is real. We need to do something about it. This is the year.

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