Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The sustainability of sustainability

Allison Arieff's blog in The New York Times had an interesting post on Monday night titled "How Green Is Your Brand?"

The posting talked about the Sustainable Brands '08 Conference in Monterey, California that took place earlier this month.

Specifically, Arieff says that, "During many of the presentations, she was disheartened by the degree to which eco-aspects have to be separated and called out, rather than be built-in, integral and inherent to a product, service or philosophy. It would be great to see more products and services serve a true environmental need rather than see so many emerge from companies jumping on a savvy marketing opportunity."

That quote got me thinking about some chatter I picked up on in late April while judging the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Marketing Communications Awards entries in Boston. It seems as though many A/E marketing professionals have taken the tack of using this push toward sustainability as a crutch to tout their firm's interest in green design.

While it's all well and good to think of Mother Earth in your firm's projects, talking about how your direct-mail piece is made of recycled paper as a way of "showing our firm's commitment to sustainability" is a bit much. If you want to do good, do good. But spare us from the tired spiel in your marketing copy. After all, if every firm is pushing the concepts of green building and sustainable design in their marketing efforts, are you really differentiating yourselves from the competition?

This is one case when it's better to show, don't tell.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ed - thanks for asking a very valid question: how does jumping on the green bandwagon differentiate one firm from the other? This made me think about an article I recently read in Advertising Age by Greg Anderson (June 2, 2008): "Marketers, Don't Just Blindly Follow Latest Media Trends." It's worth tracking down.

Follow @PSMJ_Resources