Green Branding Imperative

“Brands will not be able to opt out of [being green].  Companies which do not live by a green protocol will be financially damaged because consumers will punish them.  In the longer term, I do not think they will survive.”         Lee Daley, chairman and chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi UK 

The game is changing; it is now an imperative for all brands to be green.  The environment, and specifically global warming, may soon be an incendiary issue for corporate America. One recent poll indicates social responsibility is valued by American consumers and “damaging the environment is the main reason [consumers] would think that a company is socially irresponsible.”  (Italics added) 

Because of the catastrophic, and likely irreversible, consequences of global warming, corporations may find themselves lightening rods on the issue. Companies risk being branded socially irresponsible, making them vulnerable to criticism and putting brands at risk. 

This risk is likely only to increase with time. Brand perception is likely to be shaped by potential influencers including consumers, businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations.  These groups are growing rapidly and becoming more vocal.  Indeed, influencers have significant power as demonstrated last week when Mia Farrow successfully associated the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with genocide in Darfur, causing the Chinese to rethink their support for the Sudanese government. 

Moreover, a recent Supreme Court decision will only embolden those that seek redress from corporate America.  The 5-4 ruling states that EPA’s decision not to regulate carbon under the Clear Air Act was “arbitrary, capricious or otherwise not in accordance with the law”. Smart marketers will view the Supreme Court’s ruling as a catalyst for proactive change.  By doing so, these marketers will reduce the risk of public criticism tarnishing their brands (e.g. through negative PR, lawsuits), while perhaps securing a competitive advantage by staying ahead of the curve. 

Such a strong association between corporate action – and potentially inaction – on the environment and social irresponsibility leaves brands at risk unless proactive steps are taken to become green.  Emerging green consumer purchase behavior suggests this scenario: 

  • Despite the real threat of global warming, consumers will continue to spend on the things that they want and enjoy
  • Demand for green (or greener) products will increase over time as attitudes and social norms evolve, new product choices become available and information that enables consumers to make informed purchase decisions (e.g. green labels) is introduced
  • Consumers will start to shift spending to greener brands within a category
  • Consumers will increasingly prefer to purchase from companies with a brand that is perceived as green, regardless of whether or not the product that they ultimately purchase is one of the company’s “green” products

For corporate America, this should be wake-up call.  Simply put, every brand will soon need to be green, regardless of whether or not customers are actively buying green products today. Yet the window of opportunity is closing: soon green will simply be a threshold to compete.  Moreover, it takes time to build green credentials that consumers deems authentic. Companies that do not actively pursue a green brand strategy today risk being left behind; and as Daley suggests, those who do not may even jeopardize their very survival.

About these ads

13 Responses to Green Branding Imperative

  1. I do hope that more and more global brands become aware of their responsibility and act like a green brand.

  2. martym says:

    Hello David, I came across your blog recently and was happy to see such an avid pursuit of green in the realm of marketing. We started a brand development firm in Seattle about 3 years ago with a similar bent. It’s called egg, and we currently work with clients in renewable energy, organic food, socially responsible investment and green building. Our site is http://www.eggusa.net.

    We started out in 2004 with a consumer study that led us to a view of the conscious consumer in today’s society. We have recently updated that survey and there are some interesting findings. Here is a summary:

    EGG US GREEN CONSUMER SURVEY EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    There are many studies of consumers who exhibit values-based decision-making behavior in the marketplace. We call them Conscious Consumers. Some might consider them “green” consumers. The vast majority of these studies produces a number of subgroups defined either by behavior or outlook with regard to green behavior, but makes no correlation between the two.
    The egg study focuses on what people say vs. what they really do. The disconnect between a stated attitude vs. actual behavior allows us to divide the conscious consumer into groups based on their respective degree of hypocrisy.
    METHODOLOGY:
    1. 400 interviews
    2. Asked series of questions related to green attitudes and behavior
    3. Modeled respondents into subsets based on variance between attitudes and behavior
    FINDINGS:
    1. The U.S. consumer universe falls into:
    a. 1/3 having no discernible green behavior
    b. 1/3 with mixed attitudes and behaviors, but clearly aware of and open to green brands
    c. 1/3 consistently exhibiting green behavior
    2. Compared to our 7/70 study of 3 years ago, we find:
    a. The core has grown from 7 to 20%, making this a much more compelling audience for green brands
    b. There is still about 30% not interested in green issues, but with an interesting difference: one group
    actually goes out of its way to avoid purchasing green brands.
    3. Conscious consumers can be segmented into 5 types, based on comparing what they say with what they do.
    It’s the degree of hypocrisy between the 2 that determine which group the consumer is in.
    a. Core group is called Advocates, representing 20% of the total US consumer audience. They walk the
    walk and talk the talk.
    b. Strivers (7%) aren’t as committed as the Advocates, but their zeal is almost as great.
    c. Believers (4%) have some zeal, but little action
    d. Moderates (33%) are relatively neutral and represent an opportunity for green growth, as long as the
    core doesn’t become disenfranchised.
    e. Skeptics (36%) have no hypocrisy: they don’t believe in green and act and purchase accordingly.

    It would be great to meet some time. If you are ever in Seattle give us a ring. And keep up the good words.

    Marty McDonald

    Our about to be released blog is http://www.eggusa.net/blog

  3. […] Marketing Green Like this article? Subscribe to our RSS feed Add to Del.icio.us | Digg This! | Technorati | […]

  4. drtombibey says:

    I don’t know how you came across my site but thanks for the visit.

    My grass is blue, but I am green, too. Nice site.

    drtombibey.wordpress.com

  5. ANDY APPAN says:

    LOW CARBON TECHNOLOGY [ 33 %] AVAILABLE FOR
    C E R 15 BnT/Yr ON ALL TRANSPORTS, PP
    INV 700 Bn$ RETURN 5400 Bn$/Yr
    VC FUND 1.10 Mn$ 2 Yrs REPAID 2.20 Mn$ IN 2 Yrs
    ANDY

  6. ANDY APPAN says:

    PRIVATE EQUITY FUND REQUEST

    INV 5 Mn$ RP 10 Mn$ IN 2 Yrs
    INV 15 Mn$ RP 30 Mn$ IN 3 Yrs
    INV 150 Mn$ RP 300 Mn$ IN 3 Yrs .
    .
    ALL TRANSPORT STANDARDS

    •TRANSPORT : TON-KMPH
    •TRANSPORT EFFICIENCY :TON-KMPL
    •ENGINE EFFICIENCY : HP / FUEL- Hour
    •EMISSION : CO2e= 2325 / TON-KMPL
    •DESIGN , AVDF = TON*SPEED / HP

    M Andy Appan, M E , 45 Yrs Expert

  7. ANDY APPAN says:

    GOING GREEN CER 15 BnT/Yr IN 3 Yrs
    OXYGEN SAVED 6.5 BnT/Yr
    BY 1/3 OIL, COAL FOR SAME HP TECHNOLOGY
    INV 700 Bn$

  8. ANDY APPAN says:

    LOW CARBON [ 33 % ] , HIGH SPEED TECHNOLOGY
    330, 660 KNOTS SHIPPING
    VLCC 50,000 GRT / 330 KNT 600,000 HP / 5kLit ENGINE VOLUME
    HANDLES 100,000 T/ DAY MAKING 12,000 KM/DAY
    ANNUAL HANDLING = 300*0.10 = 30 MnT/Yr COST 150 Mn$
    VC FUND 1.10 Mn$ 2 Yrs
    LAND ROWING SEA CRAFT 50,000 GRT/ 330 knt ON 50 M LAND TRACK

  9. Trusted Marketings Reviews…

    […]Green Branding Imperative « Marketing Green[…]…

  10. Mobile Marketing…

    […]Green Branding Imperative « Marketing Green[…]…

  11. Greetings! This is a bit off the topic area although I might need some aid from an experienced
    publisher. Is it very hard to make your own website?
    I am not particularly techincal nonetheless
    I will figure things out reasonably quick.
    I’m excited about developing my own, and yet I’m uncertain
    the place to start. Would you have any procedures or
    suggestions? A great many thanks….! Might you use
    Twitter? I want to follow you if that might be okay. I have actually took pleasure in your blog
    am looking forward to any future posts.

  12. I rarely write suggestions, nonetheless I looked at a huge amount of comments here at Green Branding
    Imperative | Marketing Green but had a couple of basic questions for you if you do not mind.

    Could it possibly be just me or do some of these remarks seem as if they could be provided by really dumb
    folks? And, should you be publishing on some supplemental web-sites, I
    want to stay in touch with you. Might you post a short list of all of your social network sites including linkedin account, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  13. I appreciate this excellent blog post that demonstrates the qualities of well thought
    out content strategy. Not to change topics, but this is how to build the opportunity to create connections
    with your readers. While search engines love new content, real,
    live folks enjoy it too. Thanks so much for being an example of a blog owner that writes for their loyal followers and not only for the SEO benefits.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers

%d bloggers like this: