Brand Matters: How Bright Is Your Green Light?
Green. Greener. Greenest. Just how would you rate your brand’s shade of green? Crayola lists nine different shades of green in its rankings of the top 50 crayon colors. From the original Green (ranked No. 21) to Caribbean Green (No. 6) to Asparagus (No. 26) to Screamin’ Green (No. 49), the hues of green are varied and eclectic. The same is true for brands’ environmental policies.
Some brands are extroverts in their environmental policies; others are introverts. When thinking of bold greens, consider Whole Foods, Prius, Ben & Jerry’s, Burt’s Bees, Tom’s of Maine, Aveda and Starbucks. These brands resonate with consumers as good corporate citizens. Multichannelers like Patagonia, Nau and VivaTerra are looked at as industry pioneers and icons with their very forthright environmental policies and positions. They are the original greens.
King Arthur Flour and Hanna Andersson show their greenness in more subtle ways, while many others, like Crate and Barrel and Nordstrom, are somewhere between these shades of green, experimenting and growing with their customers into their green skins with brand-appropriate environmental policies and communication strategies.
Each and every brand is meant to serve up a unique customer experience and, thus, demands its own unique “greenness.” Customers do not expect a one-size-fits-all environmental policy. In fact, they are quite perceptive about “greenwashing” practices; that is, false or misleading environmental marketing claims. Environmental marketing agency TerraChoice outlines these self-explanatory “Six Sins of Greenwashing” on its Web site:
1. Sin of the Hidden Trade-off
2. Sin of No Proof
3. Sin of Vagueness
4. Sin of Irrelevance
5. Sin of Fibbing
6. Sin of Lesser of Two Evils
Be sure your brand is not in danger of falling into these traps.
Real Environmental Policies = Brand Authenticity
Today’s customers are very savvy. They expect your environmental policies to resonate authentically with your brand and to shine through several of your “marketing P’s”: products, pricing, promotions, places, packaging, processes and people. Take a look at how some marketers employ environmental strategies and tactics that enhance their distinctive brand positioning:
Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of creative branding and merchandising consultancy IER Partners. For 20+ years, Andrea’s joy has been inspiring clients with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She’s the author of two books about brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants and ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.