Is “green” a brand differentiator?

In a word, NO.

Like so many previous movements, “green” is a bandwagon that appeals to marketers as a way to gain positive props from customers.

Green is not a brand differentiator

It works in that regard if the advertisers are really complying with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines (Soon to be revised and strengthened according to an article on today’s BrandWeek web site.)

But following a trend is not differentiating. It’s just the opposite.

Now I’m not advocating companies ignore the trend toward environmental responsibility. And it’s okay to promote their activities in this area. But it’s too late to establish a brand, and to attempt to differentiate a company because they are environmentally friendly.

But as the article in BrandWeek states, “Marketers who go green may soon wish they hadn’t. Or at least wish they’d been clear about their program’s environmental benefits.

“An onslaught of green campaigns has prompted many to cry foul, not the least of which is the Federal Trade Commission. The government agency decided to review its green guidelines a year early after noticing “a proliferation of green claims in the marketplace,” said Laura Koss, a staff attorney with the FTC.”

Read the entire article by going to the BrandWeek website.

So if your plans include a plank in your brand platform concerning your environmental responsibilities, I applaud you. But be careful. And don’t think being green will differentiate your brand from competitors.

Like a certain puppet proclaimed, “It’s not easy being green.”

Martin Jelsema

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