Green Is Not a Differentiator Any More

Several months ago I began a series of posts about differentiating your brand. Over the next couple of months I identified several ways you could explore differentiating your business or product.

Well, here’s one I missed. And a good thing, too.

We’ve all noticed within the past two-three years how companies large and small have claimed they were “green”, i.e., environmentally friendly. Their reasons, some really reaching, for such a claim go from not building a plant on a land fill to making their plastic containers one-third thinner than the competition. BrandWeek introduced a new newsletter devoted to corporate initiatives in this arena: Green Report.

Green no longer a brand differentiator

All these activities are really commendable. But none of them identifies the companies as being a brighter shade of green than their competitors.

Back in August, Jennifer Maxwell-Muir, a public relations consultant, was quoted in Ad Age under the headline, How to Avoid Eco-Fatigue: People are getting sick. A wave of green fatigue, eco-exhaustion and environmental anxiety is spreading among consumers. Overwhelmed by choices, disgusted by corporate hype and living with the fear their efforts will never be enough, people are tuning out, say the experts.

So for a little while, green was a differentiator, but so many have jumped on that wagon so quickly that it no longer qualifies as a distinctive trait.

Today, green has become a “price to pay for admission” attribute, not a differentiator. For those who thought it might be a competitive advantage, sorry. But we’re glad you led the way. By being established as an important ingredient in the brand mix, just as quality and customer service have come to be, you have made a difference. Companies can no longer ignore the environment and know they must make positive contributions.

So I say, “Thank you, no matter what your motives.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *