Gotta Go Green — The Power of Green Marketing

Well, the time has come. Green ad agencies — those specializing in environmentally-focused client organizations (mostly nonprofits), and those honing strategies that are environmentally-efficient — are in vogue. According to today’s article in the Times business section, "agencies with a green specialty are sprouting like alfalfa."

Here’s why, and here’s what this trend means to your nonprofit organization:

  • Consumers (i.e. donors) like green (as long as it doesn’t cost them, much).
    • Green’s a must for any environmentally-focused nonprofit. Your marketing strategy has to be designed around environmentally-sound approaches.
    • Green’s important for other nonprofits too. When you print on recycled paper or promote your transition from a print to e-newsletter, your organization shows audiences it cares about the world as a whole, not just its specific issue area.
  • Marketing folks are listening. Anecdotal evidence points to a focus on green marketing, even for corporations marketing products and services that have nothing to do with protecting the environment. And agencies are popping up to serve these needs.
    • Some nonprofits are hiring small shops that specialize in green issues, in addition to the pro bono marketing work filtered through the Ad Council.
    • "These..(specialist) firms have a more sophisticated sense of the role groups like ours must play in embarrassing companies or in inspiring their customers to do so," says Michael J. Brune, ED of Rainforest Action Network.
    • The larger, more established firms (like BBDO) are developing green expertise to maintain the business.
  • There’s more competition out there for your campaigns on environmental issues.
    • Since corporations, as well as nonprofits, are starting to use focused images and messages, there’s more competition for green ears and eyes.
    • It’s critical to develop unique ways to talk about your environmental issues, and to position the work your organization does.

Nancy Schwartz on December 28, 2006 in Nonprofit Communications, Strategy | 1 comment
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  • john rooks

    Dead on post. I run a small green agency (ref. NYT comment) and it’s all true. Non-profits love us because we align with their mission – therefore we are (too often, too quickly) willing to lower rates to do good work. And the larger firms (BBDO) are developing “green practices”. Heck, even (especially?) agencies can greenwash themselves. But you know what? Greenwashing works too for a while…

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