The "going green" movement continues to build momentum, and companies are quickly realizing that they better become eco-friendly now or risk losing business. Plenty of new companies are starting out as a "green" brand; older companies want to re-brand their products to be more eco-friendly. Both types of companies want the whole world to know that they are "going green", but what is the best way to get the word out to the public?
There are dozens of ways that your company can achieve "green" branding - you just have to know some of the do's and do-not's. Below are two of the most important ways that you can successful brand or re-brand your product "green", along with one very big practice that you should avoid at all costs.
1. Use As Many Advertising Outlets as Possible
The first thing you want to do is focus your "green" branding efforts on as many fronts as you can manage. Depending on the size of your company, you might have an entire department to develop your "green" branding strategy, or you might have to do it all yourself.
You want to get the word out to your existing customers through traditional means - this could mean anything from sending a direct mailing to the homes of your customers announcing your focus on eco-friendliness, to encouraging customers to try your "green" products with a promotional discount. Depending on the nature of your business, you will know the avenue in which your customers feel most comfortable being contacted.
Also understand that in the 21st century, the Internet is king. Never before has there existed a way where businesses can reach such a large amount of people in such a short period of time. Since both new and existing customers surf the web, you can accomplish "green" branding through a variety of ways. First, you may want to consider re-designing your website to feature more eco-friendly themes and environmental news. Starting a blog devoted to "going green" is a great way to show your customers that your concern for the environment is authentic (Use the Motivators Go Green Blog as a good example to get started).
Social media is also huge when it comes to green branding opportunities. You can readily update your Facebook Fan page with news about your "green" developments, or use your company Twitter account to update customers on the progress of your company, and other eco-friendly news.
2. Use the Right Eco-Friendly Promotional Products
To give your "green" branding the extra push that it needs to stick in people's minds, consider distributing some eco-friendly promotional products to your customers. These promotional items are either made from recycled materials, or designed from materials that are biodegradable for the future. Almost any promotional items that you have used in the past can be found in their eco-friendly form.
The point of the eco-friendly items is to demonstrate up front to your target market that your company has made a commitment to conserve natural resources and limit the amount of pollution that they put into the water and atmosphere as a result of production.
Recycled Cotton Tote Bag made from 100% recycled cotton
Some of the most popular eco-friendly promotional products either have a useful function, or attract people's attention because of their unique materials or manufacturing. For instance, eco-friendly apparel is great because it is made from organic materials and provides warmth for your customers. On the other hand, people seem to be drawn to promotional items made of bamboo. Since bamboo is so durable and regenerates so quickly, it is considered an eco-friendly material to use. Incorporating these products into your "green" branding shows that you are serious about "going green".
3. Don't Greenwash
Now that we have made note of two of the most important ways to generate "green" branding, we must focus on the most crucial thing to NOT do: greenwashing. For those that have not heard of greenwashing before, it is the process of deceiving your clients into believing your product is eco-friendly through the use of marketing and public relations tactics. Greenwashing is running rampant as companies see the potential for profit in the "going green" movement.
Companies who "greenwash" their products often overemphasize the eco-friendly qualities of their products by highlighting them in exaggerating ways. This might mean changing the color of their packaging to the color green, or claiming that their product is eco-friendly when less than 10% of the materials used to make it are post-consumer recycled or biodegradable.
An example of a "greenwashed" billboard
The bottom line with greenwashing is that consumers are starting to catch on to the fact that companies take advantage of eco-friendliness in some scenarios. You might be able to get away with this practice for a short period of time, but in the long term you are going to get burned. People appreciate honesty, and when a company lies to their customers it is very difficult to recover from that. So take the advice here - avoid greenwashing at all costs and develop your "green" branding the honest way.