There's good reason to feel blue. Whether you are on the agency side or the corporate side – we face the same realities in this tough economy: one-in-four households have an individual who has lost a job in the last year; homes are worth about 30 percent less; and consumer confidence fell to the lowest level since its inception. As if that weren't enough, we are attacked by the swine flu. Not the best of business environments.
For businesses to succeed in a recession, tomorrow cannot be like today. Consumers are redefining their musts and their wants. They are looking at the health and environmental impacts of what they eat, what they build, how they transport themselves, how they use natural resources like water.
This is a trend, not a fad. And it affects consumer purchases. For example, since 2000, American consumers have purchased more than 2.5 billion ENERGY STAR qualified products. Additionally, SC Johnson reports natural liquid dish soap growth of 143 percent.
Here are a few tips to successfully leverage environmental benefits in your communications outreach.
Turning green into PR gold
1. Flaunt it if you've got it
Make sure your customers know if you have a planet-friendly product. And if your product is first to market or best performing in the green category, definitely don't keep that a secret.
2. Leverage your advantages in your communications materials and PR campaigns
For example, if your product is an energy saver, make sure your marketing materials note that saving energy can save money and reduce pollution. Less toxic means reduced health risks; less packaging means less waste; etc.
3. Appeal to core value
Remind individuals of the immediate and future impact of their day-to-day choices. Less impact today can help save the environment for future generations.
4. Maximize media outreach
Creating partnerships with environmental/government organizations lends you their brand equity while helping reach more people.
5. Recognize the power of community
We live in a diverse country and fortunately have more opportunities to reach each community through diverse media.
6. Don't forget enviro blogs and e-zines.
At the same time that media reach is shrinking, media segmenting is increasing. Utilize these extremely targeted and trusted sources to reach your audiences. When placing stories, ask if they can post the story with a link to your clients' Web site.
Mike Rosen is managing principal of PRR, a Seattle-based integrated communications firm. You can reach Rosen at MRosen@prrbiz.com.