It’s that time of year when retailers and manufacturers will do whatever is within the law to attract more buyers. Some will undoubtedly make the desperate decision to “Greenwash” their products or companies…claiming to be good environmental stewards when in reality – they’re not.
Combine the holiday din of advertising with the rush to get everything ready, it’s no wonder the average consumer is both confused, and overwhelmed. This makes it more difficult for those truly “green” products and companies to make their voices heard, let alone believed.
But there must be something you can do to help identify and define your brand’s sustainable business practices, right?
Here are just a few suggestions… and I’d welcome your thoughts to add to them:
- Quantify progress. Simply placing an icon or green image on your label is far from enough to illustrate you care about the environment. If you’ve reduced paper use at your business – how many trees does that relate to saving since you started? How many in just this year alone? How did you go about doing it? Do you plan to expand the program? If so…how? Data that comes from your actual experience, no matter how small, speak volumes against naysayers and doubters. As with any business strategy, you should be sure to establish quantifiable goals, clearly plan your approach to achieve them, and then track your progress in detail. Writing an annual sustainability plan and reporting on your progress is a great way to start your own internal program.
- Be heard. Consumers won’t know you’re tackling ambitious green goals unless you tell them about it. Make sure you have an online web page devoted to your environmental practices, and share your goals and progress with your followers and visitors. Combine your sustainability practices with product or service marketing where it makes good sense, and tell stories that illustrate is passionately for your consumers. If you don’t know how to reach out to media and social channels effectively – hire a professional to help you. You’ll learn much more in the process, and establish good habits from the start of your efforts.
- Encourage Customer Participation. Engage your customers by letting them know how their patronage supports your sustainability efforts – make them part of your solution. Inspired customers become loyal brand followers – and buyers.
- Donate and/or Volunteer. Let your customers and prospects know that you “walk the talk”, and that your environmental concerns are both personal and professional. Consider giving a portion of your company’s or product’s profits to charitable organizations such as 1% for the Planet or the Nature Conservancy. Try to find eco-focused causes that compliment your brand. And of course…if you can’t donate money this holiday season….consider your time and writing your customers about it. Make it something they’ll appreciate your doing in their name as well.
There are so many ways you can “green up” your brand’s marketing at this time of year – and at any time.
What have you done that’s been successful for your product or service that’s helped “green” your brand in 2010?