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Back Talk: Does Green Marketing Grow Sales?

Future-thinking brands have been appealing to concerns for Mother Earth for years. But in the recession, marketers are challenged to rebrand "green."

Kermit the Frog said it best: “It’s not easy being green.” But that’s not stopping forward-thinking brands from trying. For years, major brands within the auto (BMW, Honda, Toyota), fashion (Patagonia, Payless ShoeSource) and home-care industries (Clorox, GE) have been appealing to consumer’s concerns for Mother Earth — and not just with eco-friendly products. Businesses themselves are “going green” by going paperless, going solar and offering their employees transportation alternatives, among others. For their part, consumers are responding with the almighty greenback. But while it may not be “easy” for brands to go green, many are making it an essential part of the way the do business in order to appeal to consumer consciousness and respond to societal pressure. When Clorox introduced its eco-friendly Green Works line in 2008, it not only secured an endorsement from the Sierra Club, the brand was actively responding to a growing global concern for the environment. Sales that year for the specialty line exceeded $100 million, and it spawned other major brands to get “green” with the program. But in the recession years since, brands and marketers have struggled to rebrand “green” from indulgent (nay, expensive) to indispensable. Consumers site added costs in a poorer economy as a reason against choosing the green thing; meanwhile, marketers are challenged to find a balance between current eco-consciousness, practicality and mass appeal.

Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems that while “going green” is a socially responsible marketing move, it has to first benefit the brand in order to later benefit the consumer. How can brands plant the initial seed?

Furthermore: Have any green campaigns caused you to go green with marketing envy? In your opinion, can green marketing grow sales?

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.
Photo credit: NASA
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About JJ Nelson

Freelance blogger for Vertical Marketing Network; food writer; bartender.

3 comments on “Back Talk: Does Green Marketing Grow Sales?

  1. BB
    June 21, 2011

    I believe that many. if not most, consumers would like to “be green” and are willing to support green initiatives, buy green products and patronize green companies… unless it becomes too expensive to do so, or the green products and services don’t meet their specific needs or standards, or if it just becomes too big of a hassle. Except for the most avid believers in the green cause, most supports are willing go far to be “Green” but only as far as it is convenient and and within their own comfort zones. I personally applaud all efforts, be they small and easily accomplished or large and difficult, to do the “green thing” but I am ashamed to say that sometimes I consciously stick with my favorite products instead of switching to greener alternatives…just because I like them. I’m sure, unfortunately, I am not alone.

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  2. Philip
    June 21, 2011

    Certain companies and brands have long been considered ahead of the pack in Green Marketing. Seventh Generation was founded on environmental ingredients for cleansing, Tom’s of Main is noted for its Green approach, as is Trader Joe’s and Dove.

    Glad the blog post mentioned Clorox and the lead they have taken in transforming to Green Marketing. The continued effort can be seen in the latest news from the company where they just announced the release of a mobile app and accompanying website devoted to making it easier for consumers to see the chemical make-up of their products. The app allows consumers to scan a UPC at the store or at home and quickly be taken to a detailed ingredients list for the products which will include disclosures about added fragrances, preservatives and dyes. This example points to the importance for manufacturers to disclose data about the greenness of their offerings which will provide consumers with another variable to make a purchase decision.

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  3. Paul Domen
    June 21, 2011

    It seems to me that “Green” popularity is cyclical, and so are earinings tied into this marketing theme. Whenever a film, or politician creates buzz on the subject, it manifests, and becomes temporary mainstream. During the most recent presidential election, “Green” programs and prodcuts seemed to grab the reigns and run away in popularity, because it was a huge buzz word. The media was all over the topic of “Green”, and Barack Obama made it cool to go “Green”. It seems like the “Green” theme has become less popular over the last 2 years because there isn’t an ongoing election, Al Gore hasn’t created a new film to inspire the masses into seeking clean, earth freiendly methods of cleaning/trasnportation. This strategy has proven desirable results in the field of marketing with abundant returns, however, like a poker hand, success and interest are cyclical, and you need to strategize accordingly.

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This entry was posted on June 21, 2011 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

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