According to public relations firm Edelman,
“… the global tide of conspicuous consumption is turning away from traditional status symbols of the past and moving toward products and brands that support sustainability. Protecting the environment, improving healthcare and reducing poverty are the causes that global consumers care about most.”
Marketers are taking notice of this. As discussed in a previous post, we believe there are new value areas to be mined—areas that people will resonate to more deeply—a higher order level of value. And ‘Green Value’ represents one of those opportunities.
One of the more visible efforts in this direction can be observed with P&G’s Dawn DishwashingLiquid. When the brand came to the rescue in the Gulf Coast what quickly followed was an eco-friendly advertising message featuring Dawn as “the only product that can be used to clean oil-soaked animals” and a promotion where portion of sales would be contributed to Save Wildlife.
Leslie Kaufman discusses the Dawn phenomenon in her column, Ad for a Dish Detergent Becomes Part of a Story.
And, consumers are living green!
Yes, the notion of green (which initially spoke to environmental or macro-level conservation) has trickled down and has become personal. And, as green becomes personal, consumers are finding ways to make more personally and socially responsible decisions about how they spend their money—choices they view as long-term solutions.
Reduce-Reuse-Recycle is a long standing initiative referring to minimization of waste materials, and you don’t have to go very far to see charts instructing us on how to accomplish this.
What we want to explore has to do with the mindset that consumers are bringing to their decision making process. To this end, let’s take a look at three living green solutions!
The growth in the buy local movement speaks to a sustainability strategy with benefits that extend beyond the “feel good” support your community. Not only might it have favorable economic implications for a community or region, it becomes a deeper way for consumers to demonstrate environmental responsibility. In addition to thinking of local in terms of geography, we propose thinking of it as a micro concept so we actively include smaller enterprises in our decision-making set for whatever we consume.
Just as individuals flock to farmers’ markets in cities across the country or seeing ‘buy local’ triggers one’s commitment to support local growers, people are applying this concept to other sectors.
Imagine customers being motivated to switch their financial portfolio from an investment banking leader to Domini Social Investments, an investment firm committed to socially conscious investing. Investors can directly support underserved communities in every state through a special Social Bond Fund.
Then there are restaurants like Red Robin being recognized by the National Restaurant Association in an annual reward designed to “raise awareness about the restaurant industry’s contributions to local communities and to inspire other restaurant operators and owners to do the same.” Or Jimmy’s No. 43, one of the first restaurants in New York City to stop serving bottled water, hosting slow-food events and featuring a slow-food menu as part of its commitment to the Slow-Food movement.
The impact of ‘local/green’ solutions can also be applied to other product and service providers. Let’s spotlight some existing and potential opportunities.
Apparel. Environmentally friendly clothing is no longer limited to niche brands. Now you can count Van Heusen, Levi and Eileen Fisher among the companies with organic entries.
Food/Beverages. Major soft drink and beverage marketers, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi maintain dozens of bottling facilities across the country. Prominent label copy highlighting “bottled in Philadelphia, PA, or Tampa, FL, or Portland, OR” would remind consumers of the reduced carbon footprint and improved product freshness of a product bottled nearby.
Restaurants. Jim Denevan, founder of the traveling restaurant series Outstanding in the Field, has made it his commitment “to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.” The OITF experience is captured vividly in Deborah Moss’ column, Foodie feasts straight from the farm. Restaurants participating in New Jersey’s Restaurant Week promote special efforts to include locally grown/sourced ingredients in their menu offerings.
Retail. From Whole Foods to supermarket giant Kroger, grocery stores are highlighting locally grown produce and specialty products.
Travel. The Staycation (or vacationing close to home) phenomenon, triggered by the economic downturn, has become a feature of hotels from luxury brands like The Breakers Palm Beach or major chains like Marriott or Hilton. Even state tourist boards are seeing the value of strategies to encourage travelers to spend their recreation dollars in their state or neighboring states. In addition to the cost savings, travelers also get the benefit of lightening their carbon footprint.
Can you think of other ways to bring local solutions to your marketing and brand strategies?