10 Rules of Effective Green Marketing

Posted in Articles By Experts, Marketing tools by admin on the August 30th, 2007
at the My Success Gateway Blog.

by Hugh Hough

Seems like everyone’s going green these days. That’s great, at Green Team,
we’ve been banging the environmental drum for 14 years, and we welcome
the company. For marketers interested in taking advantage of the
environmental revolution, here are a few things we’ve learned over the

1. Forget “green.” Okay, you don’t really want
to forget it, but you do want to think beyond it. Being environmentally
responsible is important, but today’s Awakening Consumers are looking
for more. They’re looking at how your brand addresses all three pillars
of sustainability: environmental impact, social impact, economic

2. Walk before you talk. Don’t make any
sustainability claims until you can back them up. Completely. This may
seem obvious, but you’d be amazed at how often marketers want to cut
corners and make claims they’re not ready to. And that’s a recipe for

3. Just the facts, ma’am.  Don’t tell me what a
great corporate citizen you are, tell me what you’re doing, and I’ll
make that determination on my own. Simply stating the facts surrounding
your sustainability efforts allows you to talk about them without
coming across as smug or self-congratulatory. No one likes a show-off.

4. Let someone else tell your story. Nothing is
better than a credible third-party endorsement. This is where a
partnership with a respected non-profit that shares your values is
especially beneficial. Allow your partner to tell the world what you’re
doing together.

5. Keep it simple, make it relevant. Your
sustainability initiatives should feel like a natural extension of your
brand. Several years ago, Green Team did a campaign highlighting Jaguar
Car’s partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society to save
jaguars in the wild. Jaguar helping jaguars. Its simplicity and
relevance made it successful.

6. Look inside. It’s critically important to
engage your employees in your sustainability initiatives. With that in
mind, look to the people within your own organization for ideas. This
is how the partnership between Yoplait yogurt and Susan G. Komen For
The Cure came to be. The cause was initially embraced by Yoplait
employees on a grass roots level, then ultimately adopted by the brand

7. Money isn’t everything. Sure, financially
supporting a sustainability campaign is important, but don’t just write
a check and walk away. Look for synergies between your brand and the
cause. Involve people on both sides. Involve consumers. Be creative.

8. Tell the truth, the whole truth. Corporate
transparency is now the way of the world. Consumers, especially
Awakening Consumers, don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect
you to be honest. Admit your flaws, and let people know what you’re
doing to fix them.

9. Be genuine. Sustainability initiatives and
sustainable marketing has to be real and authentic. It needs to be
embraced by everyone involved with the brand, from the person who
answers the phone to the CEO. It should be part of your brand’s DNA,
not some superficial, jumping-on-the-bandwagon gesture. To help avoid
this, think long term, and think big.

10. Have fun. We’ve created ads for a global
warming campaign that are laugh out loud funny. Humor may not be right
for every topic or communication, but how many doom-and-gloom people do
you like to hang out with?

Hugh Hough is president and founder of Green Team,
a New York-based communications/advertising agency. He was recently
selected by The Climate Project to be one of 1000 individuals chosen to
present a modified version of Al Gore’s global warming presentation
chronicled in the film
An Inconvenient Truth.

No Responses to “10 Rules of Effective Green Marketing”

  1. 10 very well written tips. We spend so much time making things so complicated when it doesnt have to be.

  2. Thank you for the list. Overall I really like it. Although I have some questions about the term Awakening Consumer. Is this simply an internal segmentation term? How do these people refer to themselves?
    I can see Awakened Consumers being comfortable with a somewhat “new age” label, however, I wonder how the mainstream would react to that label.
    I ask because to make a meanful dent in the problems facing our planet we need “green” to become mainstream. We need it to become business as usual not the unusual.
    I look forward to future articles.

Leave a Reply