Smart Advertising

In this blog, we write a lot about making sustainability mainstream – with the ultimate goal of it becoming table stakes for all products. That’s a heart-warming objective…but we’ll never achieve it until we realize that communicating sustainability cannot be safely targeted to those we would immediately expect to embrace the message (i.e. your classic Birkenstock wearing hippie dude).

Sustainability is not an issue only embraced and owned by those who swing to the left. It can be — and is — accepted by consumers and business decision makers on both sides of the political aisle. A hunter can have the same passion for the forest as an environmentalist; a CEO may decide to build a green building because he/she wants to conserve resources…or because of the ROI.  It just depends on how the decision-maker views the world and how the sustainable choice is presented.

Just look at the Amish and Mennonite communities: These groups, which have been staunch resistors of change in many respects, are early adopters and leaders in the organic agriculture and natural foods movement.

And the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System (a system heavily supported by hunters) currently contains 150 million acres of land – almost twice the 84.6 million acres managed by the National Park Service.

If you want a business example, look no father than Walmart. The company is now THE model for how a commitment to sustainability can not only transform a company, but an entire supply chain. And I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of dudes running through the halls of Walmart in their Birkenstocks.

Sustainable products and services can be valued by everyone, if you’re delivering a message everyone can see value in.

Check out this small example of an all-appealing, green product message. To solve the perception problem that “green car” = “sacrifice of driving fun,” Smart Car came up with something everyone could have fun with:

To bring sustainability into the mainstream, it’s going to take all of us. So our messaging has to give all of us a reason to get on board.

About the Author

Larry Washington

Larry Washington is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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