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Green Marketing: Light Up Sales

“Green marketing” usually refers to using an environmental pitch to sell a product. A car creates less pollution, a paper product is made from recycled content, and so on. Results of appealing to environmental sentiment have been mixed. On one hand, the Toyota Prius has sold better than would be justified purely by the economics of the premium-priced vehicle. On the other hand, many people aren’t willing to suffer even a minor inconvenience in the name of the environment, as shown by the hotel towel experiment I described in Green Marketing Doesn’t Work. Beyond overt green marketing, though, some environmentally sound practices are simply good for business. One study shows that changing the retail lighting environment can be good for the environment AND boost sales: […]

By |January 19th, 2010|

Smiley Power: Green Marketing That Works

Could a simple smiley face on your power bill change your consumption? Utilities in various states, tired of unsuccessful attempts to encourage energy-saving strategies by their customers, are resorting to an approach based on sound neuromarketing principals: social pressure. As I noted in my post, Green Marketing Doesn’t Work, traditional appeals to “Save the Planet” aren’t effective, while pitches showing that other people are behaving as desired DO perform better.

One simple approach employed by a California utility is to use smiley (but not frowny!) faces to highlight how an individual household compares in its energy usage with its neighbors. […]

By |February 17th, 2009|

Green Marketing Doesn’t Work

Marketing eco-friendly products isn’t as easy as it might seem, particularly if the products involve some kind of sacrifice or behavioral change on the part of the consumer. Take a look at one of the supposed eco-villains, the auto industry. While one can criticize the big US auto firms (not to mention Toyota and Nissan) for continuing to push big trucks and SUVs to consumers who didn’t “need” them, the fact is that all of these firms were supplying what the consumer wanted. Yes, everyone knew that econobox cars used less fuel, emitted fewer greenhouse gases, and so on. Everyone was happy that automakers were introducing fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. But when individual buyers visited their local dealership, by and large societal concerns went out the window and people bought what worked best for them individually. For many buyers, massive SUVs and powerful pickups were the kind of statement they wanted to make, even if they never drove off-road and did little hauling. […]

By |September 5th, 2008|

Will Driving Habits Really Change?

Just about every news pundit on TV has declared that THIS is finally the oil price change that shocks Americans out of their gas-guzzling ways. It’s hard to argue with that logic. Trucks and big SUVs are piling up on dealer lots. Consumers looking to trade in one of those thirsty vehicles find that its value has dropped by thousands of dollars in a few months. General Motors is shuttering truck plants and has put its HUMMER brand up for review and potential sale. This looks like the real thing. But is it? Maybe our tricky brains will surprise everyone… […]

By |July 21st, 2008|

HUMMER: Split-Brain Branding

The last few weeks have had plenty of news about the Hummer brand. The biggest news, of course, is that General Motors announced that they were putting the Hummer line up for review and possible divestment. Just a day or so earlier, Hummer continued its history-making off road run when Team Hummer and Rod Hall Racing scored twin stock class victories in the Baja 500.

This dichotomy is typical for Hummer. At the same time that the trucks themselves are demonstrating their authenticity by winning most of the off road races they enter, GM is dithering about what to do with the brand. GM is right to be concerned, of course – high fuel prices are putting pressure on truck sales across the board. But even before the last jump in gas prices, they couldn’t quite seem to figure out how to best market Hummers. […]

By |June 19th, 2008|