The Green Marketing Manifesto by John Grant is a useful book because it shows how to communicate to consumers in a way to achieve the best results.
He explains how Green Marketing is about making green stuff seem normal and appealing and not normal stuff seem green ( green-washing). Customers who order tap water, organic produce or grass-fed beef in a restaurant should feel that it makes sense that way. Sustainable products and lifestyles need to be made inviting, not an austere and unpleasant set of choices.
Instead of hiding behind a brand image, brands should reach out and educate and inform consumers. Menus can explain why the eggs are biodynamic or a favourite fish is red-listed. Grant also argues that as much as you want to educate consumers, over the top green marketing campaigns may create mistrust. Not harming the world should be a basic requirement of doing business today, not shouted from the rooftops. Ikea won trust by getting their house in order and focusing on an internal campaign, and was voted the trustworthiest institution in Sweden.
Stories capture peoples imagination, Marks and Spencers Plan A: because there is no Plan B. Just as in classic marketing green marketing needs to address the benefit, the what is in it for me?
Being green is not enough on its own – rather healthy, economical, durable, efficient..? Worthy brands can also be hyped and made to look cool. Authentic images can be created by partnering with credible organisations in a field, adopting reputable standards, associating with a like-minded tribe and creating new cultural codes.
Tomorrow The Longtable Project will be discussing grass-fed beef with chefs, restaurant owners, butchers, farmers and suppliers. We will use these principles to see how the niche market offering can be the right and most appealing thing to do.