I planned on blogging today about brainstorm execution and how to take the ideas created in a brainstorm and put them into action. But, as I was going about my research I came across something that captured my attention and truly touched my heart: an open letter from Bono regarding his PRODUCT(RED) campaign published in the latest issue of “Elle” magazine.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar, The PRODUCT(RED) campaign is a cause marketing business model that takes a portion of the proceeds from each sale of a (RED) branded item and contributes to the Global Fund. The Global Fund is an organization that is on the frontline of the battle against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries (primarily in Africa). The Global Fun combats these diseases with community development initiatives. In order to receive aid from the Global Fund, the community must not only demonstrate need, but also a results-driven approach to solving problems within the community. In order to maintain assistance (as grants are given on an annual basis), the community must demonstrate that their model is effectively solving these problems and that Global Fund resources are crucial to the sustainability of their project.
(RED) outlines their business model by using a problem-solution method. Basically, the problem is AIDS in Africa and the lack of resources to educate those at risk and to treat those who have already contracted the disease. The solution lies in our hands, and in our wallets. By purchasing (RED) branded products we are actually making a difference by placing antiretroviral medication (ARV), the lifeline of HIV patients, into the hands of those living with HIV in Africa for about forty cents a day (per patient). Doctors have titled the complete turnaround due to these ARV’s the Lazarus Effect, since the patients often close to death have been given new life.
However, as consumers and good samaritans, we often want to see tangible results or impact of our good deeds. The minds behind PRODUCT(RED) have thought of that and have placed both results pages and success stories on their website.
One of the major setbacks of cause marketing in general is that is requires a lot of trust on the part of the consumer. Consumers must believe that their money is being used responsibly and, unfortunately, every now and then a scandal will come along that will waver our trust in the motivations of these companies. Well, (RED) has solved that problem by explaining on their website the ways in which our money helps those who need it most.
By partnering with well-established brands such as Gap,American Express, Apple, and Starbucks, consumers are able to purchase their favorite products while making a positive contribution to an incredible cause. As father and founder of (RED) and lead singer of U2 Bono says in his Elle magazine letter, times are tight and giving is hard. But, by purchasing the (RED) brand of your favorite products, you can enjoy your favorite items and truly make a positive impact by “doing the (RED) thing.”
Timberland recently launched their Spring 2009 Collection under the
environmentally-friendly title “Earthkeepers Collection”. The TV commercial theme
urges that you “be nice to nature” or “it might just get you back!” It
really is quite funny.
There is a strong and dominant theme about the company using environmentally
conscious, recyclable and renewable resources across its entire range of
operations – and not just being environmentally conscious in one or some
aspects of its operations while ruthlessly beating up the planet across all
Going through the company’s website, the “Climate Impact” section tells you
pragmatically that “…we better make sure the trail is there to hike,
the mountain to climb, the river to traverse, the landscape to inspire…”
The company also clearly mentions all that it is currently doing, and aims
to do, in order to continually reduce – and by 2010 eliminate – its carbon
Check out the “Nutritional Label” which seems quite a clear current snapshot. I like the way it says, “your trash is our shoebox”! All shoeboxes are made from 100% recycled material.
The product features of the Earthkeepers Collection has similar detailed
information such as “15% recycled rubber in the durable, low-profile
Timberland’s Green Index is a measure of the environmental impact of its
products in order to provide consumers with visibility into the footprint
that the company’s business creates.
However, would you rather they had the same thing certified by an outside
accredited agency? Is a homegrown internal index credible enough ?
From the “Green Positioning and Marketing” perspective: Timberland appears
to be on the right track – it is integrating being an environmentally
conscious company within its very DNA and is seeking to eliminate its carbon
footprint across all aspects of its existence.
Through this holistic approach toward its operations, Timberland seems
credibly supported in (claiming) the green element/part of its brand
positioning, and particularly in that of the Earthkeepers Collection.
Okay, so unless you’ve lived on Mars for the past decade or so, you couldn’t have escaped this whole beast of “Global Environment Destruction” that is threatening to end our planet and our lives!
Recyclable material, waste re-usage, energy conservation, alternative fuels, nuclear energy for everyday use, climate changes, global warming – these are just some of the terms that we’re all used to hearing on an everyday basis !
Further, from the point of view of businesses and marketers of products and services, we’re also confronted with the business aspect of global climate change i.e. Green Marketing, also referred to as Ecological Marketing or Environment Marketing.
But what exactly is “Green Marketing”? And, specifically, how does it translate into governments, companies and consumers acting together to reduce our global footprint so that we might preserve our planet better and pass on a better world to our future generations?
Thus, Green Marketing incorporates a broad range of activities, and, to use a simple ideal model, begins at the procurement of raw materials stage and carries through to the very end of the business cycle, say, the customer service stage.
However, defining Green Marketing is not an easy task since there are a plethora of meanings, interpretations and contradictions – and each made further ambiguous by personal motives of interested stakeholders!
The objective of this blog is to develop an objective and realistic view of what Green Marketing is, what it should be, what it shouldn’t and, going forward, what it should evolve into – I look forward to hearing your thoughts & suggestions as we go forward…
As a parting line, here’s an article about how the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York is setting a great example with it’s Hybrid Buses…now come on, be honest, you didn’t expect us New Yorkers to be the most environmentally conscious folks around did you?!
The New Year always gets everyone buzzing and excited for change. This year
it seems that change is more desired and more needed than ever before. With a new president upon us and an economic catalyst on the verge, there is much to support an optimistic spirit.
As the discussion of the New Year, resolutions, and business outlook stirs through the office corridors and offices, I am hearing more business managers and owners than ever before talking about 2009 being a make it or break it year.
For me, the New Year meant a new location and new opportunities. My newfound office was just what I needed to kick start the 2009 change train.
So what will be the difference between 2009 being a bust or a boom?
Focus. Your customers are feeling the crunch of the economic downturn just as much as you are. Now, more than ever, it is important to communicate with your current and potential customers. Ensure your customers of the value you provide and focus on their needs.
Strategy. It’s time to get back to basics and focus on the cornerstones of your business’ success. Think about what differentiates your business from your competition and make sure that you are communicating these differences to your customers.
Analysis. Take a long hard look at the downfalls and the payoffs in past years to maximize opportunity and reduce risk. Analysis of your pipeline and threats is the best place to start planning for 2009.
Regardless of the changes your making, it’s time to assess your personal and professional stock to set yourself up for a great 2009. Making changes is an invigorating way to start a whole New Year. What changes are you making for the New Year?
We want to hear from you! You will find members of the Perks Consulting team will post information about business, marketing, or strategy concepts we are using, researching, and/or contemplating for our clients. Please feel free to post comments or questions. We will respond as quickly as possible.