How building product marketers position their products, in terms of sustainability, is increasingly becoming a concern for consumers.
Among other modifications made, marketers are cautioned not to make broad, unqualified claims of “environmentally friendly” or “eco-friendly” due to a consumer perception study that confirms these claims suggest the product has far-reaching environmental benefits. There are few products, if any, that have all of the characteristics that could substantiate these claims.
Marketers, be careful how you tell your green story. Be accurate and not too bloated with buzzwords like biodegradable, organic, all natural, etc. Here are some thoughts on how you can stay true to your green messaging:
- Ensure your “green” claim is legit. The FTC, among others, will question it, so know exactly where the criticism will be directed. Know the background on raw materials and how they are gathered, made, packaged, shipped and discarded after use. Highlighting certain parts of your products “greenness” (recyclable, energy-efficient, organically grown, fair trade, etc.) is a better route to go with the new FTC guidelines.
- You’re green? Prove it. There honestly isn’t a totally green product out there. If you think yours is, then prove it. Ultra green consumers are ultra skeptical and will demand you prove your green-worthiness. Make sure the back ups to your claims are easily accessible and anyone can find them.
- Certify with third-party certification. This is a good way to stand behind your claim. Use familiar symbols, such as Energy Star, C2C (Cradle to Cradle), etc. so that your claim can be easily recognized.
- Green will set you apart, but won’t do the heavy lifting of a sale. Even though green is a reason to choose your brand over another, your products still need to do the heavy lifting by providing a solution for the buyer. Green is a differentiator and if you are comparable in price, performance, quality, etc. with your competitive set, your green side may enhance your image and secure market share.
You can review the new FTC Green Guidelines.