by Marcos Cordero, LEED AP, CEO and Co-founder
There are likely many reasons behind your decision to go green, including cost savings and a commitment to the environment. I’d be willing to bet, however, that a major factor in your decision to brand yourself as green lies in your desire to gain recognition, publicity and the marketing edge that comes with being a green business in today’s marketplace.
GreenBiz.com calls green marketing a mega trend” that gets results. According to The Green Revolution, a report based on a nationwide survey of U.S. consumers, and Cone LLC’s 2008 Green Gap Survey:
- 84% of consumers currently purchase at least some green products
- 39% of consumers are preferentially buying products they believe to be “environmentally friendly”
- 93% of consumers feel that a company’s greenness” is at least somewhat important to their purchase decision
- 38 % of consumers of say they feel informed by positive environmental messaging
- 11 % of consumers feel empowered or inspired to act by positive environmental messaging
While green consumerism is growing, there are still gaps in the American consumer’s understanding of green marketing claims. In fact only 22% of consumers understand that the terms ”green” and environmentally friendly” more accurately describe a product with less negative environmental impact than one with a positive (i.e., beneficial) impact on the environment.
Because green consumers are known to be brand loyal, businesses that approach their marketing messages as an opportunity to educate consumers on the benefits of green products and services stand to gain faithful, long-term customers.
When crafting your green marketing message, ensure that it is:
- Precise. According to the Cone study, 70% of consumers say that specific information quantifying the environmental impact of a product or service influences their purchasing decision and the more precise the claim, the more credible it is. For example, made with 80% post-consumer recycled paper” is a more believable claim than environmentally friendly”.
- Relevant. 74% of consumers say that a clear connection between a product or service and an environmental result influences their buying decision. For example, installing one water filter replaces 3,030 plastic water bottles.
- Informative. 54% of consumers seek information from a company’s web site, and 48% via product packaging. Provide information that will inform purchase decisions whether be study findings, testing results or testimonials from satisfied customers.
- Consistent. As with all marketing and branding, find your green message and stick to it. Be sure the images and words that you use reinforce your carefully crafted message.
- Realistic. Advances in environmental technologies and sustainable materials are being made every day. Don’t pretend that what you are offering is the best it will ever be, use your message to communicate a work in progress” tone to sound more credible and less subject to criticism.
Businesses that offer green products and services have a real marketing advantage in today’s eco-conscious marketplace. Understanding how consumers make their purchasing decisions and what types of green messages influence those decisions, can ensure that your decision to go green is a profitable one.
For more information, read the Green Business Bureau’s blog post on The Rules of Green Marketing.