Is “Going Green” Losing to “Saving Green?”

Nicolette Lemmon, President/Founder

My Marketing Strategy

Nicolette Lemmon, President & Founder

In the Twittersphere, I noticed comments about the use of “going green” initiatives as a way to bond with consumers. However, many ways that brands are touting green initiatives impact the shopping experience or require the consumers to invest.

The cloth shopping bags at grocery and other retail stores are available for a cost. Yet, the retailer is saving money on plastic bags.

Another use of “going green” is the concept of saving energy to help the planet. For large retail stores, turning off banks of lights or an escalator to “save energy” leaves one blogger, Hal Alpair, pretty disgusted.

For credit unions, the offer of e-statements to members as a way to “go green” is really stretching it as well. Since it is a cost savings for the credit union, it is not a true “green” initiative and lacks substance. Instead, relating the benefit of not having sensitive data sent through the mail is more believable.

The issue is that consumers are more concerned about their money and saving “green” than “being green.” For marketers, it is important to make sure that using the theme of “going green” isn’t just an excuse for not having a more creative brand message.

6 thoughts on “Is “Going Green” Losing to “Saving Green?”

  1. So true, Kate. Thanks for the comment. The benefits do go both to the consumer and the financial institution! The concept of e-statements will go the way of Direct Deposit and returned checks, won’t it? Safer options of electronic delivery and cost savings.

  2. Another perspective is that in a co-op financial institution (credit union) a savings to the credit union is passed down to all its members. It’s also a major convenience not to have to file or destroy monthly statements and is a way for members to “opt-in” to choose how they prefer to receive statements. e-statements are all good.

  3. That’s true. Good point Nicolette. It does apply to any cause-marketing effort. If you don’t care enough to make a real, meaningful difference, why are you supporting that cause?

  4. You’ve got to be very careful with your “green” claims. Once you crack the door with something like “go green w/e-Statements,” there will be members who point out all the other ways in which you are NOT green.

    It’s better to do one of two things. (1) Be quietly green. Just do it because it’s the right thing to do and don’t toot your horn about it too loudly. (2) Make a concerted, committed effort to make your organization green in enough meaningful ways that you can say something publicly.

    Trying to cherry-pick the easiest ways to be green will only get you in trouble if you try to brag about it in marketing.

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