Corporate Eye

Generation Y Weighs in on Green Brands

Two buzz topics – Gen Y and green brands.  Put them together and you get an interesting list of brands that the sought after 20-something audience likes and thinks are actually making positive efforts to help the environment.

In a study conducted by Outlaw Consulting, 100 Gen Yers living in New York, Los Angeles, San Fransisco and Miami were surveyed and asked which brands were their favorite “green brands” and why.  The results showed the following:

  • Green Brands Are Leaders: The Gen Y audience favors brands that get in on going green before their competitors.  Think Toyota and the Prius.
  • Green Brands Practice Minimalism: Clean designs, packaging and advertising are favored by the Gen Y audience when it comes to green brands.  Whether or not companies are actually doing much to support the environment, clean designs translate to environmentally friendly to this audience. Think Apple.
  • Category Matters for Green Brands: Depending on the category, being a green brand can be more important.  Food and cleaning products should be green in the minds of the Gen Y audience but technology and clothing carry less importance in terms of green brands.  However, it’s important to note that not as many options are available in many of these “external” categories, which may skew the results.  Sounds like an opportunity for the right brand!
  • Green Brands Join the Conversation: The Gen Y audience is looking for information and seek it from other consumers and from companies.  Green brands that join the conversation and provide information, news, ideas and suggestions for green living are thought of favorably by the Gen Y audience.  Looks like an opportunity, particularly if the social web is leveraged for an ongoing conversation!

The top 15 green brands according to the Gen Y survey respondents are:

  1. Whole Foods
  2. Trader Joe’s
  3. Toyota
  4. Honda
  5. Google
  6. Aveda
  7. Zipcar
  8. American Apparel
  9. Ikea
  10. 7th Generation
  11. Apple
  12. The Body Shop
  13. Starbucks
  14. Netflix
  15. Method

What do you think?  What brand will listen to the responses from this survey and jump on some of the opportunities it presents? 

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.