How superior brand experience sells sustainability

Jack Blog

November 8th, 2010 By Jack Morton

There’s a big article in Ad Age suggesting that “green” product sales are heading downward, based on a GfK Roper Green Gauge study that seems to predict “green fatigue” and a downward spiral for marketing brands with an eco-conscience. The troubling data include a 15% increase in the number of US consumers saying that green products are “too expensive” (61% of those surveyed).

It’s not altogether surprising that in a recession the cost of doing good would feel too steep. However, the downward-trending products cited in the study simply added a superficial green layer on top of their existing brand. You could say that they haven’t really changed their brand experience, they’ve just added a “green” imprimatur to their brand. Evidently that’s not enough to sell the product’s premium cost.

The green products that are doing well—some really well, recession be darned—are those that have sustainability at the core of their experience. Example: Seventh Generation, which is growing so dramatically that the board just forced out its founding CEO (Fast Company has some great interviews with him on their site) saying they need a new leader to support doubling sales.

Others green brands that are doing well: Mrs. Meyers and Method, both great examples of brands with an authentically sustainable experience at their core. (And by the way, if you’ve ever wondered about the role of smell in the brand experience, take home Mrs. Meyers’ geranium-scented dish detergent. Amazing.)