In our article ‘The 3 Principles of Green Marketing’ we touched upon the 3 principles of green marketing, namely, selling environmentally safe products, pricing these products at affordable rates and marketing the eco-credentials of these products alongside those of your brand. Collectively, these 3 principles of green marketing can help to maximise the appeal of your products and your brand to the fast growing eco-consciousness of today’s consumers. So, let’s take a closer look at how to incorporate the 3 principles of green marketing into your brand strategy.
Produce Eco-Friendly Products
Green marketing is predicated upon having something green to sell. So what is it that makes your product ‘green’? Your green marketing strategy should hone in on whatever distinguishes your product as eco-friendly. These features are your product’s green attributes.
Marketable green attributes might include:
- The use of sustainable manufacturing techniques
- Recyclability, or the use of recycled materials
- Use of eco-friendly packaging
- Durability and reusability
- Energy efficiency
- The use of sustainable, degradable or non-toxic materials
- The product is organic, or made from organic materials
- The materials are locally sourced and/or the product is locally manufactured
Any of the above could serve as a specific, marketable green attribute. Equally important is the requirement that your product isn’t environmentally damaging in any way, shape or form. This isn’t to say that products marketed as green must be 100% eco-friendly in every conceivable way. But if your ‘green’ product later transpires to contain endangered woods, you’ll be accused of greenwashing and any chances of your green marketing efforts succeeding will immediately evaporate.
The public like proof that products labelled as green are what they say they are. External third party certification is the best way of providing this proof.
Some well-regarded green certifiers include:
- Blue Angel
Blue Angel certification is awarded to products that are deemed to be more environmentally friendly than others serving the same purpose.
- Energy Saving Recommended
The Energy Saving Recommended logo is awarded to products that meet the accreditor’s standards of energy efficiency.
· Soil Association Organic Standard
Perhaps the most recognisable organic certification – The Soil Association Organic Standard confirms a farm or farmer’s use of organic cultivation techniques. It also guarantees the authenticity of organic materials used in products labelled as organic.
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification
The FSC is an organisation that promotes the sustainable management of forests throughout the world. Accreditation from them ensures that a brand uses sustainably grown wood in their products.
This list names just a few. There are many more green certifiers out there. Look for those that are appropriate for your product and its green attributes.
Secure your product accreditation from a third-party certifier and you’re free to feature their logo on your product’s packaging, bestowing your product with a trustworthy green kudos, which will prove invariably auspicious to your green marketing efforts.
Price your green products competitively
People rarely put their money where their mouths are, and green buying habits are testament to that. While over half of us now publicly air our willingness to pay above the odds for eco-friendly products, in reality, the urge to save a few pennies often speaks louder than the voice of our green conscience.
Nonetheless, sales of green products are rising year on year. The trick to getting your green product to sell is to price it competitively.
The difficulty at this time is that many green products still incur higher production costs than their not so eco-friendly counterparts. For brands and manufactures, this makes pricing green products competitively appear unworkable, or at the very least a risky stab in the dark. But even if consumers aren’t as willing to spend extra for green products, as they’d like to suggest, this doesn’t mean that their green convictions are superficial.
Ford recently took a punt by pricing both the hybrid and the petrol models of their Lincoln MKZ at equal rates. Sales of the hybrid version consequently boomed. This goes to show that many of us are willing to choose greener alternatives so long as the green choice doesn’t carry a financial disadvantage.
So take the risk. Price your green products competitively, and you’re likely to witness a major uplift in sales. You may even secure one of the many gaps in the market open to competitively priced green products that are still out there and ripe for the taking.
Market the Green Credentials of Your Product and Your Brand
As discussed in ‘The 3 Principles of Green Marketing’, green marketing is about emphasising the green credentials of your product. So make sure your product’s specific green credentials are clearly indicated, but don’t forget to market the product’s direct benefits too. Green credentials will provide your product with a competitive advantage, but they wont sell it on their own.
We also touched upon the importance that branding plays in green marketing. Here we’ll explore this connection in greater depth. Attempts by brands to sell green products, but that ignore environmental concerns on an operation level; will be seen for what they often are – sly efforts to profit from the consumer growth in environmental concern. If you want to succeed in selling green products, your brand must have a green image too. You’ll want to try to ensure your environmental commitments are watertight. Any double standards aren’t looked upon kindly. If instances of poor environmental practice slip your otherwise eco-friendly net, your green image will be tainted, and both your brand’s and its product’s claims to eco-friendliness will suffer.
Here are a few things to consider about your brand before you make attempts to market a green product:
- Can your brand prove its commitment to environmental causes with independent accreditation such as an ISO 14001?
- Is your brand known for having caused environmental damage in the past?
- What is the extent of, and how widely implemented are your brand’s own environmental commitments?
- Is your brand’s supply chain eco-friendly too?
Honesty is crucial in green marketing. Unsubstantiated claims garner mistrust, and if it’s discovered that these claims are based on lies, your green reputation will crumble. Your whole green ethos must be sincere. If your brand has a poor environmental track record and all of a sudden you decide to give it a green rebrand, consumers will smell a rat.
Brands practicing green marketing also benefit from practicing transparency. Make the public aware of your brand’s working practises, its history, its aspirations – any information that might provoke curiosity, or suspicion if unavailable. This is the best, if not the only way to earn real trust, and consumer trust is a big part of green marketing.
The opportunities to be had from green marketing are growing proportionate to the steady growth of the typical consumer’s eco-consciousness. As green products still only account for a small portion of the market, and properly priced, well-marketed green products a smaller portion still, now’s the time to get your foot in the door, get marketing your green brand and products and benefit the environment while you’re at it.