Now before we start, I want to clarify that I am not an environmental scientist. Nor am I looking to debate the existence of climate change nor rising sea levels or the warming of the earth’s crust.
BUT…there’s no doubt that the environmental landscape is changing. Especially from a marketing perspective.
The whole ‘green’ thing has gone through a number of evolutions in the marketing world. It started out as a pretty ‘hippy’ kind of thing that required you to be quite alternative to be a part of. It was rather aspirational and somewhat elitist in many respects.
As we all ‘grew up’ in the later 90’s, it became part of ‘corporate citizenship and responsibility’ with major organisations suddenly feeling public pressure to be demonstrating how they were being ‘clean and green’. Companies even changed their logos to emulate this feeling with its consumers to soften the dramatic environmental impact that they were having upon our world (enter BP…).
Then we entered the age of ‘feel good’. An era where you had the option to pay a little extra for the ‘green feel’. Purchasing a flight on Virgin allowed you to select an option where you offset the carbon emissions from your travel. You felt like you were contributing your little bit.
The realty is, most people like to be ‘green’...’as long as it doesn’t cost me anything’.
So we now find ourselves in 2016…
Many companies have used the green tag as a marketing exercise (most with pure authenticity) and it’s been a strong differential. Although I would still challenge if the majority are prepared to pay a premium for the feel good factor.
Companies like Virgin have removed the tick option and simply build it into their fares without seemingly affecting there price point in the market and indications would suggest that this has been a positive move.
The question is, will green ever become the new red? Will it ever become the true sales factor between product A and product B? Will we evolve to a point where paying a premium for ‘green’ will be the difference between success and failure? Will the majority seek to hold companies responsible for their environmental impact?
I’m also interested to watch what effect social media has upon this landscape too. Will the ‘greenies’ gain a voice and traction through this open source medium? Or will it get lost in the noise?
The marketing climate has certainly changed and I all but wonder if it isn’t time for someone to rebrand ‘green’? Give it a facelift and create a new image which is less attached to the past and more so focused on the future?
I certainly have more questions than answers but it will be interesting to track the changes in this climate as we move into an era of advanced technology that could provide incredible impact upon the way we go about our every day lives – Tesla batteries, self drive cars, drone delivery, virtual reality (I could go on…).
The one thing I do know, is the debate is going to get hotter and the climate will continue to change.