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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!