There is no substitute for being genuine. This is true in branding, it is true in life. You can create an illusion for only so long. Once people figure out what you are up to, they will leave quickly and in droves.
A new article in Fast Company makes the point that products which claim to be “green”, but are dubious in both formulation and origin, have not proven successful in the marketplace. Large corporations not typically thought of as eco-conscious, such as Chlorox or Arm & Hammer, both have found that the public is not terribly loyal to their cleaning products which lean heavily on “green” attributes. Similar experiences are found in food categories as well. When it comes to sustainability and the environment, you either “are” or you “aren’t”. As the old saying goes, you cannot be “a little bit pregnant”…
Successful purveyors to the environmentally sensitive consumer market stand for more than a product claim. They show their determination in many other ways, from how they give back to the community, to the values they espouse in the workplace, to the causes they support visibly and tangibly. It isn’t just a logo treatment, or the wording on the label, or a green dye added to the soap that makes the marketing credible.
The ranks of consumers who demonstrate their caring for the planet is growing beyond the segments that initially defined them (i.e., higher income, well-educated, predominantly female). Leaders such as Stonyfield, Seventh Generation and Kashi are growing faster than their categories are. Why? Because they embody the messaging of the brand across multiple dimensions, are seen as high quality, a good value, and, perhaps most of all, live up to the claims of their brands.
The lesson in this for all of us is as timeless as “to thine own self be true”. Anything less, and you eventually will be found out.
The Fast Company article can be found at the following link: