Nuts & Bolts: Book Club
Going green is the socially responsible and hip thing to do, but according to marketer, author and blogger John Grant, no one really agrees on what “going green” means. For marketers especially, there is a blanket term of “green marketing” floating around the industry, ambiguous in its intention, but righteous in its spirit.
But not anymore. Grant’s most recent book, “The Green Marketing Manifesto,” aims to pull this blanket from over the eyes of the marketing community and give readers a solid understanding that green marketing needs to be both commercial and environmental, while encouraging marketers to “ditch the old 20th century marketing and hang onto [their] creative problem solving instincts.”
Grant is painfully thorough, walking the reader through the 18 types of green marketing that he has laid out by utilizing a three-by-three grid. He breaks it down into three broad types of green marketing objectives on one axis (green, greener and greenest) and the three different levels at which marketing can operate on the other (public, social and personal). Then within each box, Grant digs deeper into what he calls debates—less vs. more, educate vs. evangelize, tradition vs. new cool—which produce the final 18 green marketing approaches. He delves into each approach, hailing sustainability-friendly companies that have done it right while berating companies that have gotten it all wrong.
Greenwashing—making something normal seem greener than it actually is—is also dissected and labeled as one of the largest sins of green marketing. If readers take nothing else away from this book, it must be that though greenwashing can often seem harmless, it will be the end of a company’s credibility with its customers and the public in general.
Grant is passionate about green marketing and sustainability, practicing what he preaches; on the second page of the book is the statement of sustainability, proudly announcing its greenness. “[The book] is printed in vegetable ink on acid-free paper, responsibly manufactured from sustainable forestry in which at least two trees are planted for each one used for paper production.” Of course, it only makes sense—you can’t sit back and take shots at some of the largest companies in the world for not greening their businesses unless you cover your own bases (and book) first.
Ultimately, “The Green Marketing Manifesto” is a blend of tutorial and inspiration for readers. “We need marketing that does good,” Grant writes, “rather than marketing that just looks good.”