- THE MAGAZINE
Awareness is expanding. LinkedIn reports a 19% increase in people with “sustainability” as a skill in 2011 over 2010. Consumers and business understand that product choices affect our quality of life and future. Whether it’s the residue from soap or how to dispose of appliances, questions are raised about impacts. As we move into a new year, I hope this foundation continues to evolve into informed action on energy, water, resource management, green building, air quality and all the facets that contribute to a healthy planet.
In my eyes green has become a melting pot of people and organizations around the globe with different priorities purporting to serve planet survival for future generations. Some are authentic; some are inserting “green” into existing sales materials. As communicators and consumers, knowledge brings responsibility to ensure holistic approaches and transparency at all levels.
Each week, I meet green marketers and eco-strategies with newly minted credentials. I do not question their passion. Whether checking a box on LinkedIn or calling attention to actual experience, it’s thrilling that we are now explaining “how” more often than “why” green matters.
Green Earth PR consultant Lisa Lilienthal observes, “As consumers become savvier, their expectations are higher in terms of value proposition, and that includes how you source, manufacture, distribute and recycle. Green is becoming shorthand for a more ethical approach to business in general.” She offered the Patagonia Don’t Buy This Jacket ad as an example.
Our colleague Louise Mulherin agrees that Patagonia has been perceptive with its communications strategies and posted on this particular ad. She notes, “The challenge becomes when consumers aren’t savvy and companies talk to them as if they were. Companies need to recognize there is a broad spectrum of understanding. Information should be formatted to suit the audience.”
Companies need to take into account that a green building audience or a facility manager would have different requirements than someone in the food industry.
Companies that are successfully using green marketing are transparent, relevant and clever to grab and hold attention. Patagonia included a call to action and mutual responsibility with a goal of 50,000 signatures to support The Common Threads Initiative. Results are tracked online.
We can follow the results and the example. Please add your thoughts on what you’ve observed and what you expect for green communications in the coming year.