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BizReport : Advertising archives : April 22, 2011

How to connect through green marketing

Since the initial Earth Day more than 20 years ago, brands and businesses have tried to connect with consumers based on environmentally conscious ideas. Much of this connection, however, has missed the mark. As debates over global warming and oil prices heat up, though, more consumers are looking for ways to help the environment and pinch pennies at the same time.

by Kristina Knight

The problem is that these green marketing objectives aren't convincing buyers that green products are actually helping the environment. According to a Burst Media survey, most consumers (89%) are at least somewhat 'green', but many are skeptical about actual product efficiency claims/advertising. Less than 20% believe green products work better than non-green products and nearly 40% believe green and non-green products work 'the same'.

"[The] vast amount of green jargon and green labels can make it difficult to gauge how environmentally preferable a product actually is," said Barbara Wells, Senior Vice President with Staples Promotional Products. "To help avoid confusion, it's important to look at the product's makeup, including the amount of recycled content within it. At Staples Promotional Products, we make sure that if we are labeling a product as eco-conscious, we are verifying the percentage of recycled polyester or true organic cotton in that product."

Promotional products such as biodegradable pens, recycled-material t-shirts or jackets or coffee mugs made from corn was innovative ways to associate a brand's identity with products consumers will use and enjoy. The Staples platform allows brands to create eco-friendly products, from the actual pad of paper, for example, to the packaging of the product. The best part?

"Companies are making sustainability an inextricable part of their corporate culture," said Wells. "As such, they're successfully incorporating environmentally preferable practices and products in campaigns throughout the year."

Two interesting promotions that Wells has seen created through the Staples platform? Super-soft t-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles and desk accessories made from recycled rubber.

"During a recent major corporate event, another customer of ours provided fleece vests made from plastic soda bottles to even staff and customers. The inside labels shows that the garments were made from recycled materials," said Wells. "Recipients were proud and excited to wear them - providing a great testament to and advertisement for that company's brand."

Tags: Burst Media, green marketing, promotional advertising, promotional products, Staples Promotional Products, sustainable products

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