PRWeek webcast looks into green media coverage

NEW YORK: Companies wishing to highlight their green credibility should probably pitch the "product" before the "green," according to panelists on PRWeek's webcast "Greening Your Pitch."

NEW YORK: Companies wishing to highlight their green credibility should probably pitch the "product" before the "green," according to panelists on PRWeek's webcast "Greening Your Pitch."

The event last Tuesday, sponsored by CRT/tanaka, featured Seth Bauer, editorial director, National Geographic's The Green Guide; Wendy Bounds, small-business editor, The Wall Street Journal; Todd Woody, Green Wombat blogger and assistant managing editor, Business 2.0; and Michael Ekstract, VP and founder, Verdant magazine. Speakers provided insight to an audience of 286.

Bauer opened with his perspective on the historical evolution of the world's "greening," saying the movement has changed from a post-WWII pollution-inspired government activism to an individual awakening, due to events like global warming and hurricane Katrina. 

"Everyone is going green. Do your homework; if a product is not really green, people will be aware of it," Bauer advised.

Woody proposed that increased VC investment in things like clean technology has helped drive the movement.

Speakers agreed that marketers should stress innovation, so as to not get lost among other company's green communications. They added that the efficacy of the product must be stressed as much as, if not more, its "green" standing.

Bounds claimed that both consumers and reporters want to know that a green product performs as well as the traditional one. "When you get to high-end products, be careful of asking consumers to make sacrifices...If it's organic or green, it's an added bonus."

Attendees were asked to answer a number of questions during the webcast; a majority (77%) said they believed sustainability issues were not a fad and more than half (52%) said that talking about green issues in 2007 was "very important."

When asked what benefits were experienced from a green initiative, 35% said it "humanized the company," 22% said it increased market share, and 22% said it boosted morale among employees and positively influenced recruitment.

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