I’ve had the chance to experience how two very different brands approached touting their green credentials in the past month. What I found most interesting is how different their marketing around their green efforts took shape, with the more B2B-focused company actually pushing the green angle more openly.
First up is Brother, the fax/printer company. Unless you are an SMB/SOHO you likely interact with Brother products at the office. I happen to have an individual printer in my office that recently needed a new toner cartridge. After opening up the box, along with a new cartridge I was greeted with a leaflet describing how to help Brother keep the old cartridge out of landfills. Here’s what struck me:
* Clear directions – they provided a 1-2-3 process that was easy and fast.
* No hassle – they provided me with the FedEx shipping label and instructions on how to return the package, providing contact info to help find a drop off or arrange a pickup.
* They answered the question of “why Brother?” – in their short summary (3 sentence, 5 bullets), I know quickly understood why Brother is asking me to participate and was given an appropriate level of detail on the program they have undertaken as an Energy Star partner.
Next up is Left Hand Brewing, the fine Colorado-based providers of a a close buddy of mine’s favorite Milk Stout. A pure consumer brand, Left Hand interestingly doesn’t tout their green cred as clearly as I think they should on their packaging or their site. They do have a note on the top label of their bottle describing how the beer was brewed with clean energy from SimpleSolar.com electric systems. However it was only on one side in small print and I noticed it by accident.
Juxtapose this with another Colorado-based brewery New Belgium, the home of Fat Tire and other beers. New Belgium talks more openly and in larger print/detail about their sustainable efforts on their site and packaging, with a link to a sustainable sub-page and a front page banner ad about a 1% for the planet initiative. Pretty stark difference from what I would consider prime competitors.
With sustainable and green marketing still evolving, its interesting to see how these diverse companies approached the issue and how much emphasis they applied given their products and cultures. It’s clear both B2B and B2C can gain positive customer impression from promoting their bona fides if done in a) a non-obtrusive way that b) supports the overall culture, bringing along with it competitive differentiation as well.