Visualizing Green

August 16th, 2007

are powerful marketing tools. For marketers, they provide powerful
stimuli that can augment messaging and influence consumer behavior and
beliefs. Here are a few suggestions for marketers using visual images in the green space:

Chose the right image. Images can affect change by amplify existing or associating new attributes with a brand or marketing messages. In
the green category specifically, imagery has the potential to evoke
strong emotional responses from individuals with a vested interest in
or passion for the category.

Today, consumers have preconceived notions about what colors and images are aligned with green. Research prepared through a partnership between the Yankelovich Group and Getty Images (“Going Green”,
Yankelovich Group webinar, June 27, 2007) yielded powerful insights
regarding green imagery: consumers believe that the color “forest”
green and images of actual forests, (followed by images of water
including oceans, rivers and streams), are the most representative of
the environment (based on a palate of green color and image stimuli
that consumers were exposed to during research). As such, marketers
should carefully consider color palate and image selection in order to
align with existing consumer perceptions associated with the
environment. (Getty hosts a gallery of powerful green images on its site).

Track how visual language is evolving. How consumers interpret and understand “visual language” is continually evolving. Understanding this evolution can provide marketers with valuable insights to drive successful campaigns. Here
is one example: As part of its research with Yankelovich, Getty
identified “key concepts that will influence the future of visual
language” in green. The key concepts include the following:

  1. The Future
  2. Goodness
  3. Simplicity
  4. Legacy
  5. Inheritance
  6. Purity
  7. Care
  8. Trust
  9. Sustainability
  10. Fresh & Clean

For marketers, such concepts
provide relevant ways to connect consumers with green and should be
considered when crafting a marketing campaign.

Moreover, green marketers should take note of emerging patterns across these concepts. For
example, four concepts – “the future”, “legacy”, “inheritance” and
“sustainability” relate to what we leave for our children. Additionally, words like “goodness”, “purity” and “fresh and clean” may perhaps evoke a sense of natural goodness. (“Going Green,” June 27, 2007).

Pick images that allude to ideas beyond the stated message. Unlike the written word, images “elude empirical verification”. This
enables marketers to leverage the suggestive potential of an image
without being held accountable to the degree that you would be if
making written or verbal “product claims or political promises”.
(Schroeder, Jonathan, “Introduction to the Special Issue on Aesthetics,
Images and Vision”, Marketing Theory, 2006; 6; 5)

Let visual imagery influence new product development and design. Today, marketers typically choose images as part of the overall strategic branding or marketing campaign tactics. However,
given the strong association by consumers of certain images with green,
marketers (and product managers) may want to turn this approach on its
head. Instead, companies should consider perhaps
developing products that more closely “fit the image” of green already
held by consumers, rather than the other way around. To
do so, product designers and green marketers should leverage this
imagery to inspire new designs and shape marketing initiatives.
(Schroeder, 2006).

This article was originally posted at Marketing Green on August 16th, 2007 by  David Wigder, Vice President/Director of Digitas. 

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