Seventh Generation begins brand awareness push

BURLINGTON, VT: Seventh Generation has launched an expansive brand awareness effort for its environmentally responsible home cleaning products.

BURLINGTON, VT: Seventh Generation has launched an expansive brand awareness effort for its environmentally responsible home cleaning products. The integrated campaign includes a major PR push, as well as its first national ads.

“There are so many competitors coming into the space and so the message about the importance of transitioning to non-toxic cleaners is getting out there, but a lot of people didn't necessarily know we existed,” said Chrystie Heimert, Seventh Generation's director of PR.

Until the launch of the campaign this week, Seventh Generation relied largely on grassroots marketing through partnerships with nonprofit organizations to build brand awareness, said Heimert.

A brand audit conducted by the company last year showed that nine out of 10 people had never heard of the company, and that only 3% of US households had purchased Seventh Generation products in a given year (the company's 2008 sales were about $150 million). Yet the same research showed that 44 million households in the US are interested in keeping their homes and surrounding environment safe, said Heimert.

The PR effort includes a road show in New York with Seventh Generation executives Chuck Maniscalco, CEO, and Jeffrey Hollender, cofounder and executive chairman. The two executives will meet with business media, including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Portfolio, and BusinessWeek, and will also make a TV appearance on Fox Business.

In the lead up to the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 25, 2010, Seventh Generation's PR AOR, Coyne PR, has also spent the last few months reaching out to leading consumer publications. “We feel there is an important story to tell about a company that was green before being green was cool. We want to let media know that the company has led the green movement over the last 21-plus years,” Heimert told PRWeek.

This week, Seventh Generation is sending a cleaning caddy to about 250 reporters. The caddy includes a new EPA-approved natural disinfectant product, as well as a copy of Naturally Clean, written by Hollender. “He is a prolific writer—and has a second book coming out called The Responsibility Revolution—so we want to seed him as an influencer and a source for reporters looking to do stories about corporate responsibility.”

The new campaign also includes the company's first TV ad, which plays up the fact that Seventh Generation has been protecting homes with its natural cleaners for more than two decades. Carmichael Lynch out of Minneapolis created the ad.

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