Friday, November 12, 2010

Why Use Social Media?

Social media is a great complement to your existing membership communication activities.

Here are my Top 6 Reasons that non-profits should use social media to engage members:

· Real-time delivery of information

· Easier to forward and share

· Your members/customers are there

· Typically free

· Easily integrated

· A modern image

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tracking Green on Twitter

Want to know what trends are emerging in sustainability and green marketing? Tweet.

After actively tweeting and re-tweeting about sustainable topics on Twitter for the last few months, I have found it to be a great resource for new ideas, trends, and events. Green lifestyle tweeters like @ecosaveology and @focusorganic are constantly finding and sharing new ideas about green living, and sustainable business tweeters like @makower and @GreenAdvantage are tweeting about sustainable business practices.

Long before concepts are hitting the agency conference room for that Earth Day promotion, early green adopters are exploring and sharing their discoveries on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gauging the Green Impact of Your Marketing

The word impact is often discussed around the conference table at advertising agencies. Every marketer wants to make an impact with a brand's target consumer. Expressions like "cut through the clutter" or "get our fair share of voice" are often uttered.

When we look through the sustainable marketing lens, however, the word impact takes on additional meaning. Not only is the "breakthrough" power of impact important, but also the direct impact created through natural resource use, carbon emissions, waste generation, and social justice.

I recommend looking at four key factors when considering the impact of a sustainable marketing program:

1. Energy Use and Emissions
  • What amount of energy will be expended to produce the program? Can this be minimized?
  • Will production create carbon emissions? If so, how much
  • How far will any produced materials be shipped, if they are shipped at all?
2. Waste Generation
  • Is the program created to minimize materials that could end up in a landfill?
  • Are all inks, papers, and other elements of the marketing program considered eco-friendly?
3. Recycled Materials and Recyclability
  • Are all of the produced materials, prizes, premiums, or other elements of the marketing program easily recyclable?
  • Is information about recyclability easy to find for the consumer?
  • Is post-consumer recycled material used whenever possible?
4. Social Cost
  • Are all of the elements of the marketing program produced in a socially responsible environment? (e.g. in manufacturing facilities that provide a healthy, clean environment, don't employ child labor, and don't actively discriminate against its workers or other groups).
  • Is the delivery or message of the marketing program both healthy for and equally accessible to all participants?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Does Green Mean Green?

The tagline "Go green, save green!" is ubiquitous in the current marketplace.

Although once a clever (and now tired) usage of a dual meaning of the word "green," it presumes that the consumer will make the connection between making a "green" choice (e.g. an environmentally aware choice) and keeping "green" in their pocket (e.g. green dollar bills).

Once we get beyond the fact that in this global world, the money of countries outside the U.S. is not uniformly green, thus rendering the tagline meaningless, I wonder: is this statement valid?

In making an environmentally enlightened purchase decision right now, whether it be toaster pastries, light bulbs, or toilet paper, are we indeed "going green?" And if the purchase decision is based on an instant price discount, then doesn't the line really mean "Pick this and we'll give you a discount!"

I would argue that "going green" is much more deeply rooted in personal philosophy and experience, and certainly is not made as an on-the-spot decision, like "I'll be green in this very moment" and then forgotten.

Research from wellness market research pioneer The Hartman Group found that consumers often first become engaged in green products or services through things that go "in" or "on" the body. Their initial gateways are through concerns about health and quality.

Given this context, it stands to reason that communicating that your product will "Make your skin glow without harmful chemicals" may be a more compelling message. And if you want to stimulate an instant purchase for the consumer, simply lower your price or offer an instant coupon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How Sustainable Marketing Has Gone Mainstream

Interesting post from a green marketing pioneer about how sustainable marketing has broadened and deepened over the last 20 years:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Great Green Brand Program


Earlier this summer, I found a delightful example of a consumer marketing program that built awareness very effectively with me as a consumer: the Toyota Prius and the Sims 3 game release.

The strategy appears to be leveraging the equity and audience of each of the complementary products: the Sims 3 user can download a free 2010 Prius directly into the game and can find out more about the actual car through a link to the Toyota website. Toyota announced in July via e-mail that with a special Toyota code, consumers could receive a 15% discount off of the Sims 3 game.

Clever stuff -- the gamer gets free digital stuff, and the Prius builds awareness and creates a connection between the gamer and the brand.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I've been reflecting on the concept of authenticity. I recently came across the following on Twitter @Informative which illustrates this point perfectly. The YouTube video explaining the rules of an Oregon Chai contest mis-pronounce the state's name. Oops.

The point of authenticity is that you just can't fake it. It is a state of being, and ultimately others will decide if you are authentic or not. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Live Your Values

If one of your organization's stated values is honesty, then don't lie. Even a little white lie. It is better to say "hey, we've never done a project like that, but we'd love to have a chance to work hard for you" versus, "sure, we've done 30 projects like that" when you haven't.

2) Be Committed

If you are talking about being sustainable, then "walk the walk."

  • Encourage carpooling, taking mass transit, or biking to work
  • Provide reusable mugs or cups v. providing paper cups
  • Grow a garden on-site, encourage employees to tend it, and then make the harvest available to all.
3) Reinvent Processes

Look at internal and external processes -- where is there excessive use of resources, such as fuel, energy, or paper? Where is waste created? Overhauling inefficient processes will help you to build your sustainable rep and save you money.

4) Consider Affiliations

Look at the organizations with whom you do business:
  • Do they treat their employees well?
  • Are they a heavy polluter?
  • Do they employ sustainable or socially responsible practices?
  • Are they energy efficient?
  • Do they have a good record on human rights?
We can't control everything that a partner, client, or supplier does, but we can be informed and collaborative in discussing best practices.