So, why are green brands failing to capture public attention?
Ultimately, it is clear that organisations need to put sustainability at the core of their business model as well as their advertising
Joseph Zammit-Lucia published an article in the Guardian on Friday trying to the get to the bottom of ‘Why green brands are failing to capture public attention’. He argues that while ‘in market study after market study consumers claim that social conscience is an important driver of purchase behaviors’ only a small handful of green brands ‘actually achieve meaningful success’.
For Zammit-Lucia ‘They fail because the branding efforts are superficial, not grounded in the complexity of current cultural change and end up sending messages that are often the opposite of those intended.’ I would argue that part of problem is that brands who release some kind of green offering are not just differentiating the product from the environmental impacts of competitors products but from the environmental impacts of their own products as well, drawing attention to the superficial nature of their claims.
I would also argue that organisations have misinterpreted what the public is asking for. Does consumer demand for sustainability not call for sustainable organisations rather than simply sustainable products? If I am an environmentally minded consumer, voting with my pounds, do I want my money to go to an organisation that also produces products that aren’t green? Consumers don’t just want environmentally friendly light bulbs, they want lightbulbs from an environmentally friendly company – design that’s bottom up as well as bottom down.
Here at Brands with values, we are currently busy putting together the Brand values index for 2013, looking at the values of the biggest brands in the world with a view to categorising them. Across 100 brands (the same brands behind many of these products) one sees little mention of the environment or indeed sustainability. Ultimately, it is clear that organisations need to put sustainability at the core of their business model as well as their advertising, focusing on doing business better rather than doing better business using values and purpose as a catalyst for positive change.