Authenticity will shine in a sea of green buzz

Countless PR pros and corporations used this year's Earth Day as a launch pad for green campaigns, but not all will succeed. As consumers are bombarded with more green messages, they are becoming wearier - and more critical - of what those eco-wrapped packages contain and who's behind them.

Countless PR pros and corporations used this year's Earth Day as a launch pad for green campaigns, but not all will succeed. As consumers are bombarded with more green messages, they are becoming wearier - and more critical - of what those eco-wrapped packages contain and who's behind them.

There's no doubt that marketing of eco-conscious products and companies will continue to increase market share as consumers become accustomed to picking up energy-efficient light bulbs at Wal-Mart, recycled totes at Whole Foods' checkout, and pausing to consider a corporation's greenness before investing in it. Once about as popular as Al Gore before his movie gig, green has officially moved beyond trendy to routine. Even Project Runway's co-host Nina Garcia admits in Elle's green issue, out this month, that although she once shuddered at the thought of hemp and other early Earth-conscious materials, the current crop of savvy designers make green living an easy, attractive choice.

Successful green messages, however, will go beyond slapping on an "eco" label. Communication specialists working at environmental-focused organizations told PRWeek that an authentic message will capture the most interest and accolades - a green promotion must pass the sniff test. Consumers can smell a fake before the recycled-paper press kit hits them. Fancy green messaging with no substance will fall flat.

And as more companies pitch green products, consumers will become more likely to investigate those claims closer, looking to see if it is just a marketing ploy, or if the promoter as a whole has made a commitment to the environment. Having a way to measure and report greenness to end-users will gain their trust.

No one expects a company to go green overnight, but consumers will expect it to make an honest try if it's using green messaging to promote products.

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