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.

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