Green Marketing 101: Make Green Second

Ecopreneurist jpeg I believe that Jennifer Kaplan says this pretty well in her own introduction so in her own words, "Don’t position your product as green.  Well, not primarily green.
Instead, position your products and services first as delivering core
consumer benefits then-as a second set of attributes-green."

Posted May 27, 2009
By Jennifer Kaplan, Ecopreneurist

Here’s a basic marketing tip: Don’t position your product as green.  Well, not primarily green.
Instead, position your products and services first as delivering core
consumer benefits then-as a second set of attributes-green. You may
even find that your competitors are not onto this savvy positioning strategy.

A couple weeks ago I was looking for examples of this principle. I
wanted to show how a company’s marketing message should extend beyond
greenness to appeal to other core consumer attributes people expect
from a good products.  I put out a query on HARO and received dozens of interesting products.  Of those, five stood out.

Vers iPod Docks The first thing I noticed about Vers iPod Docks
is that they are incredibly beautiful.  But, they first thing theat
Vers wants you to know about their products is that they sound great.
They let the fact that they have been touted as the most
environmentally friendly iPod dock available speak for itself and focus
instead on the benefits that consumer’s want in a an iPod dock: Great
sound and good looks.  In the words of David Laituri, partner in Sprout
Creation makers of Vers products:

“We tend to focus on superior sound quality and
design, and environmental thoughtfulness a fast second. Since our
sustainable design efforts are a work in progress, we avoid ‘green’ and
‘environmentally friendly’ whenever possible.”

Green ToysGreen Toys are made out of recycled milk containers and are made in the USA (so from a supply chain  position they are very environmentally sound.) Green Toys are also packaged in recycled corrugated boxes with no plastics, cellophane or twist-ties, and are 100% recyclable. But most importantly, they positioned as safe (they contain no traceable amounts of Phthalates or BPA and have no external coatings with lead paint) and fun (they are chunky and colorful and beg to be played with).

Tom's of Maine In addition to promoting the absence of the controversial ingredient, aluminum, Tom’s of Maine deodorants are
also positioned as safe, natural, long-lasting and highly effective in
fighting odor. So the company’s marketing message extends beyond
greenness to appeal to other attributes people expect from a good

Pentel’s Handy-line S Highlighters
have all the features consumers want in a highlighter: They are a
compact, retractable, have a chisel tip, and come in assorted colors. 
But they are also successfully positioned as green products because—in
addition to the core product features—they are made from 54% post
consumer recycled plastic, refillable and are branded as part of the
Pentel Recycology
program.  Through marketing, Pentel let’s consumers know that no
compromise of product features comes with their green products.

Clean Air Lawn CareClean Air Lawn Care is a full-service sustainable lawn care company. They use solar-powered lawn  mowers (yes, those are solar panels
on the back of that truck!) They offer all the regular lawn services
plus grass removal to an organic waste recycling center. But their
marketing messages focuses equally on high quality service that yields
“beautifully groomed lawns” at competitive prices. They also sell
safety with an organic fertilization program which they say ensures a
yard is both “beautiful and safe for your children, pets, and
waterways.”  Sustainability is a key part of the marketing, but core
consumer benefits are at the forefront of their messaging.

As David Laituri told me: “I don’t believe people wake up in the
morning and say: ‘I want to spend $200 on a green product today.”  No,
they probably don’t. But, if you position your green product
intelligently they may want to buy your green product today.

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