Selling Sustainability – Without Selling Sustainability

Selling Sustainability – Without Selling Sustainability

Having a sustainable product doesn’t mean you have to scream sustainability to sell it. In fact, sometimes it makes more sense not to. What if you were a facility manager responsible for lighting an entire office building or a lighting designer trying to make a hotel lobby feel warm and inviting? Your focus would be split in a few different directions and the sustainability of your facility’s lighting may not be a top decision driver.

Those were the mindsets we needed to focus on when given the task of creating a B2B advertising campaign for Toshiba LED Lighting. We realized our targets – wholesale distributors, architects, facility managers and lighting designers – cared about a lot more than just the sustainability of LED lighting. (Plus, every other LED manufacturer out there could make the same sustainability claims being made by Toshiba.) We knew we had to focus on the unique benefits of Toshiba LED Lighting – specifically Toshiba’s 120 years of experience in the lighting industry combined with their extensive experience in the world of electronics.

The result was “Ready for Work.” The campaign allowed us to talk to our target audiences about their specific needs and how Toshiba LED Lighting was ready to help them be successful. The creative executions challenged preconceived notions about energy-efficient lighting within the lighting industry (i.e., they look terrible and are just too expensive.) Each ad pitted those perceived disadvantages and compromises against Toshiba’s benefits with headlines like BRAINS vs. BEAUTY and R&D vs. ROI.

In the end, we were able to make a compelling argument for buying a sustainable product without screaming ”it’s sustainable!” That’s a lesson for your brand as well: Focus on the strengths of your brand – whether it’s the comfort provided by an energy-efficient product or the health benefits of organic foods. Most mainstream consumers want to know how your product can make their lives easier or better – and that almost always trumps sustainability. If you build sustainability messaging in by focusing on those brand strengths, however, you’ve found a real sweet spot. And that’s when sustainability becomes both good for your consumer (whether a lighting designer or a suburban mom) and good for business.


About the Author

Brian Kelley

Brian is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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