Thursday, January 3, 2008

The marketing of green: 5 ways to be part of the trend

Green has taken center stage, not just because of global warming, but also because of the price of oil. Finally going green also makes good business sense immediately (the way business people, unfortunately, like it).

Here are five tips to ride the trend. Remember though, you can ride the trend, but you must be sincere. Otherwise it will hurt your brand.

  1. Use green to add value for your customer. I always thought a restaurant with its own vegetable, flower or herb garden is a neat idea. Now, it reduces transportation costs... and there is really nothing to beat freshly picked vegetables on the plate and flowers on the table.
  2. Use green to attract customer segments with a special affinity for the environment. You can imagine that if you are the only company in your category known to reduce, reuse or recycle water, energy, bags, etc., you may appeal to certain segments. This strategy works best for companies that are seen to provide a near-commodity, such as banks, insurers, and airlines. There are not so many other tangible sources of differentiation.
  3. Develop new uses for your products using green. Curacao cantaloupe is an additional way to use Curacao liqueur.
  4. Support efforts that reuse the waste that your company produces. In Jakarta, my friend Roy and his team make the coolest laptop bags from empty tubes of toothpaste found on the streets.
  5. Use green to distinguish your brand or company from others for a short moment. At MarkStra, our corporate gift this year was a reusable crate for shopping and a list of tips. Let me say that I consciously try to reduce our footprint through composting, planting trees, and several other efforts. But, I admit... the empty reusable crate over the holidays was to distinguish us from the habitual well-wrapped baskets well-filled with goodies.

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