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Posts Tagged ‘green marketing’

Pinterest has been the latest craze in social networking. According to site analytics, Pinterest popularity has exploded from 1.2 million users in August, to over 7 million today. The budding social network has proven to be more than a fad, gaining over $27 million in venture funds.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets users organize and share images that they find on the web. Pictures, or pins, are organized onto boards that categorize them into themes. The pictures then link back to the original site where users can find more content. To learn more about the network, Mashable’s Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide  is a great resource.

Beyond its mainstream appeal, the network has the potential to be particularly valuable for green businesses. Organizations undertaking green initiatives are constantly trying to make environmentalism fit within the larger scope of business. Pinterest is the perfect platform to visually show the many facets of their brand personality. More specifically, it allows businesses to engage their stakeholders while displaying how their environmental consciousness fits into the mix.

Pinerest Best Practices for Green Business

1. Encourage Reuse Through DIY & Craft Boards

Pinterest Green DIY

What better way to encourage reuse than through creativity? DIY pinboards hold great value for green businesses creating a Pinterest presence. These boards allow users to upload pictures of ways to reuse products. For the fashionista, what better way to recycle old T-shirts than to make them headbands or scarves. Encourage Home décor enthusiasts to make wreathes out of the packaging materials of your product. Rather than contributing to the cycle of consumption, this creates a mindset of reuse and environmental consciousness.

2. Display Different Sides of Your Brand Through Pinboards

Whole Foods Pinterest Board

It is unlikely that being green encompasses the entire personality of a brand. However, if the organization is making environmental strides then it should have at least one environmentally inspired board. Pins on that board should be eye-catching and provide interesting content.

3. Make It Social

Pinterest Contributors

Give users an incentive for following the brand by allowing them to contribute to select boards. This is  a great way to build relationships with pinners that are influential about the environment. You can gauge a pinner’s influence by looking at the number of people that follow their boards. Also, it  can be a way to reward Pinterest users for liking and commenting on the organization’s pins.

4. Remember to Link

Linking the pins to sites is a great way to drive traffic and raise awareness of environmental issues and initiatives. It is important to remember that Pinterest etiquette clearly states that it is not a platform for self-promotion. Make sure the picture and description clearly represent where the link will take you. No one likes to be deceived or spammed.

5. Create Environmental Awareness Through Contests and Challenges

Timberland Earthkeeping and Pinterest

Green businesses have the opportunity to engage their stakeholders with innovative Pinterest challenges. After unsuccessfully trying to find examples of green businesses taking advantage of Pinterest contests, I came up with a few ideas of my own. Jones Soda could challenge users to pin pictures of their most creative ways to reuse soda bottles. Timberland is currently running a social media campaign dedicated to “Earthkeeping.” The footwear giant could inspire pinners to upload pictures of footprints in the destinations that they hope to protect.

(Follow me on Pinterest!)

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Three things you can expect in April: the Easter Bunny, rain and a heap of green advertising. The 2011 Earth Day celebration will take place on April 22nd and will bring out the best in organizations promoting their most creative green strides. It is also a time when PR professionals are expected to promote and communicate green initiatives, even if they have no environmental familiarity.Earth Day 2011

In order to communicate effectively, professionals must reconcile environmental jargon, complex issues, such as global warming, and their organization’s relationship with environmental regulations. Inability to consider these concepts can hinder the communication of the message and make a company susceptible to greenwashing criticism. The capitalist temptation to generate profit from Earth Day marketing can also pose the threat of greenwashing backlash.

The New York Times summarized the problem saying, “So strong was the anti-busines sentiment for the First Earth Day in 1970 that organizer’s took no money from corporations and held teach-ins ‘to challenge corporate and government leaders’…Forty years later, the day has turned into a premier marketing platform for selling a variety of goods and services, like office products, Greek yogurt and eco-dentistry.”

The slew of green marketing begs the question – are organizations simply doing good or capitalizing on it? I can think of various holidays that allow companies to make a buck, but eco-minded consumers and the planet should not be exploited. The best campaigns raise awareness rather than capitalize on the opportunity by offering environmental incentives with a purchase. However, there are some organizations that have learned to perfect this balance.

The Earth Day Nice List:

  1.  Starbucks – When you bring a travel cup into your local Starbucks on April 22nd, you will receive free coffee or tea. This promotion encourages less paper and plastic consumption, while complimenting Starbuck’s continuous environmental responsibility.
  2. Target – You could win the ‘Refresh Your Nest’ sweepstakes and receive a $50,000 sustainable home makeover. Also, the stores are highlighting green products during the entire month of April.
  3. IKEA – The IKEA store in Tempe, Arizona is offering free breakfast and a T-shirt to anyone who bikes to work or school on April 22nd. In addition, by bringing your used plastic bags into the store you will receive a free reusable shopping bag.

While commitment to sustainability goes beyond being green for one day, Earth Day offers a global opportunity to stop and think about how your organization affects the environment, and the steps that you can take to become more environmentally responsible.

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