Green Marketing in a Struggling Economy

So you want to help the environment by being more eco-friendly and increasing your green efforts, but think that it is too expensive? Many people wonder if they should cut back on green marketing and their green efforts in a struggling economy, but in fact you should do quite the opposite. I read in the September issue of Deliver, a marketing magazine, that it is actually a “hook to getting through them”. They say that green marketing improves your efficiencies, increases customer loyalty, and differentiates your brand.

Wal-Mart-Eco-Friendly-EffortsTake for instance, Wal-Mart’s green efforts. Wal-Mart’s “Earth Month” green marketing efforts included print ads for 10 different green products under $10 and “rollbacks” on environmentally-friendly products. Customers are looking for ways to save money in a tough economy, and Wal-Mart is helping them do that, while still having a positive environmental effect.

Eco-Friendly-Efforts-SunChips-Solar-EnergyGreen marketing also increases customer loyalty. Frito-Lay’s SunChips brand gained customers by showing them that green is both good for them and the environment. They started this marketing plan after seeing market research from 2006 that showed that people who care about their personal health also care about the planet. SunChips have 18 grams of whole grain and zero trans fat. Since these chips are healthier than regular potato chips, their campaigns played off this, their nature-related name, and their sustainability investments, which includesEco-Friendly-Efforts-SunChips-Compostable-Bag producing a compostable bag. They promoted their compostable bags with an online video showing them decompose, as well as print ads that included a tear-off sample for consumers to test it out themselves in their compost piles. Green marketing helped SunChips become one of the fastest-growing snack brands at Frito-Lay.

Eco-friendly-Efforts-Innovation-Thinking-Ideas-EnvironmentGreen marketing, done correctly, also differentiates your brand from the competition. IBM took a different route by connecting with the community in their green efforts. Their Smarter Planet initiative used direct mail to encourage individuals, businesses, and institutions to change the way they work. They also started a series of jams, or brainstorming sessions, that bring people from around the world together to solve an issue. Their “Congestion Challenge” collects innovative ideas to fight transportation congestion, and the winner receives $50,000, as well as the development and implementation support for the idea.

Redesigning Packaging for a Charitable Cause

Last month, we talked about companies using social media networks for cause marketing.  Now we are focusing on a company that actually redesigned their packaging for a cause.

Recently, Tide changed their packaging to go along with their Loads of Hope campaign.  That is a pretty big deal for a brand that has not Tide Loads of Hope Custom Packaging for Cause Marketingsignificantly changed their packaging in their sixty years of history.  The Loads of Hope campaign raises funds for disaster relief support.  The new design features photos of disaster victims that Tide has provided aid for, such as Hurricane Katrina victims.  The newly designed bottle also says, “You can help” on the yellow cap to help draw attention to the charity and the company’s social responsibility efforts.

This change in Tide’s packaging design shows that they take social responsibility seriously.  It is a program that they are continuing to support, and it enhances their brand image.  Consumers are more likely to buy products from a socially responsible company, rather than the competition if the products are similar.  So not only are they giving back to the community by helping disaster victims, but they are also boosting their brand image, which could increase sales and the traffic flow to their web site.  The design and custom packaging that they are using helps inform and remind consumers what they are doing to help others.  And most importantly, they are doing their part to give back to the community and those in need.

Companies Utilize Social Media Networks for Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is nothing new, but it has been increasingly growing in popularity for companies to both give back to the community and to get their names out there.  It is seen as a marketing campaign, but the money used is not just being spent on promotions, it is being used to help others.  This makes cause marketing a truly great idea.

social media networks facebook for cause marketing

A new trend that we are starting to see is companies implementing cause marketing through popular social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.  These social media networks connect millions of people across the world quickly and easily.social media networks twitter for cause marketing

Just last month, Target’s “Bullseye Gives” campaign allowed Facebook users to go on Target’s Facebook page and vote for which charity (from a list of ten) that Target will donate $3 million.  Users were allowed to vote once a day, and the amount of money each charity was given was determined by the percentage of votes that they received.  Better yet, each time someone voted, it would show up in their newsfeed for all of their friends to see.  This is a tremendous word-of-mouth tool for praising Target and their acts of social responsibility.  Target’s “Bullseye Gives” campaign resulted in 167,000 Facebook users who came together to vote over 291,000 times.  Now that’s getting their name out there.target bulleye gives cause marketing campaign

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Share a Little Comfort Cause Marketing Ad CampaignTarget is not the only company that uses social media networks, like Facebook, to broadcast their charitable efforts.  Kraft also did well with their “Share a Little Comfort” campaign.  They offered to donate up to one million boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to needy families, depending on the number of “statuses” or “tweets” shared by users on Facebook and Twitter.

Using popular social media networks for cause marketing can really help companies get their name out there and give back to the community, but they must be careful as to not come off as spam.  If consumers think that you are just trying to sell more of your product and don’t actually care about the charities, your campaign will be a setback for your branding efforts.  But if you follow in these companies footsteps in finding the perfect mix of social media promotions and charitable donations, you could gain a considerable amount of customer and brand loyalty, while still knowing that you are helping others.<–>

Benefits of Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is becoming more and more popular, and there is no surprise why. It allows the company to feel good about themselves and donate to the charity of their choice. Not only that, but it is also a great marketing tool. Customers, stockholders, and employees embrace companies that give back to the community.

  • Choose a charity that both your company and customers care about.
  • Organize a marketing plan to get the word out. There is no need to be shy! Together, your company and your customers are helping others out. If it is widely known, More people may want to help support your company and the cause.
  • Keep a record of the success of your campaign. This will help you figure out what strategies do and don’t work for the future.
  • Follow up on the campaign. This will let your customers know they made a difference and remind them about your company.

It is so important that the public knows about your campaign and what it is for. One of the best ways to make your customers aware that you are involved with a cause is to display it through your packaging.susan g. kolmen for the cure pink social responsibility campbell's soup

Some of the more popular campaigns have a certain color associated with their cause.

  • Pink. There are numerous pink products supporting the Susan G. Kolmen for the Cure Foundation.
  • Red. The (Product) Red campaign is partnered with many brands, such as Apple, GAP, Starbucks, Windows, American Express, Converse, Dell, Hallmark, and Emporio Armani to support the Aids Foundation. (product) red campaign social responsibility africaAnother common color your packaging can convey a message that will keep your customers coming back.
  • Green. Being environmentally-friendly is another huge part of social responsibility. Customers love the new “green” trend and it is important to display it through the packaging.

Social responsibility is both good for the community and your company. Customers love to help a company that is helping others. This allows you to give back, boost sales, and increase brand loyalty. Be sure to display the cause in your packaging so that your customers know what it is all about.