Corporate Eye

Is Being Green an Option for Brands?

packaging_wasteA recent study by RSR Research analyzed the strategies companies are employing for brands in terms of ensuring those brands are eco-friendly, but I wonder not what brands are doing but whether or not being green is even an option for brands anymore.  Or is it a strategic imperative?  My vote is for strategic imperative.

In other words, green strategies should be at the core of product development and positioning strategies.  It shouldn’t just be an ancillary element or tactic of differentiation.  It should be a key component to the brand’s overall promise.

I think of toy brands and consider all the wasted plastic and materials used in the packaging of toys (I have triplets who just turned 5-years old, so I see a lot of toy packaging but there are many examples — check out the wasteful packaging in the image above), which so clearly demonstrates the need for “green” to be at the heart of brand and product development.

There is that old saying, “waste not, want not”, which is very appropriate here.  The same thing applies to being a green brand.  Many consumers simply expect companies and brands to be making an effort to be environmentally-friendly.  If brands are deemed to be wasteful and environmentally harmful, it’s likely that a certain amount of consumers will lose trust in those brands.  They may even move on from those brands to find replacements that do meet their expectations for brands and companies to live up to their environmental responsibilities.

Sure, the abandonment rate might not be that high today, but what about in 5-years?  10-years?  Will “green” still be the cool thing, or will it be the essential thing for brand survival.  While I don’t think I’d go so far as to say it will be the only thing that matters to consumers when they make brand choices, I do think it will have a greater impact than it does today.  Bottom-line, green is no longer an option.  It’s a must.

Your thoughts?

Image: Packaging Waste via 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+.

“Bottom-line, green is no longer an option. It’s a must” – Spot on Susan.

It should now be a part of any corporate business strategy

Hello Susan, I came accross your article while researching something I am writing on “Green marketing and the recession.. I had to take the time to pen my appreciation. I am grateful for your eloquent prose and thoughtful commentary. It is heartening to know that Green has the support of such an articulate spokesperson..

Very Best Regards,

Natalie and Richard, thank you both so much for the kind comments!

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