According to Rich Gorman, more and more companies are getting serious about green activism and social responsibility—and that is very much a positive thing. While reports about planetary peril are increasingly common—and increasingly worrisome—there are efforts that corporations can take to make a difference, and many of them are seizing the opportunity. From the use of recycled products to “paperless” office settings, companies can do much to help the environment.
Simply going green is not always enough, however. It is also important for companies to brand themselves as green enterprises. According to Rich Gorman, there are a few different reasons for this.
“Companies that truly want to make a difference for the environment are smart to get others involved,” Rich Gorman observes. “By enlisting your clients or even other companies in the fight to save the environment, companies can amplify their power and make an even greater difference. On top of that, green branding is just good for business. More and more consumers are coming to favor eco-friendly brands, so boosting your green cred might actually boost your sales, in the process.”
The question remains: How can companies best brand themselves as green? In the paragraphs that follow, Rich Gorman offers a few ideas.
Rich Gorman Shares Eco Branding Tips
To brand itself as a ‘green’ company, a business might start back at the drawing board—literally. “Returning to the company logo and making some tweaks can help indicate that your brand is indeed serious about its environmental responsibilities,” Rich Gorman opines. “A subtle touch of green in your logo—or even imagery of leaves or trees—can help consumers know that you’re doing your part. This, of course, does not make sense for all companies and all industries, but it is worth thinking about.”
If a company does not change its logo to a ‘greener’ model, they might still come up with some environmentally-themes graphics to showcase green products. “If some of your products are eco-friendly and some are not, you might come up with some kind of icon or sticker that you can affix to the green ones, denoting their positive environmental impact,” Rich Gorman contends. “At the very least, this shows that you’re interested in helping your customer make green decisions, if they want to.”
Rich Gorman offers another green branding tip, which is to make an effort to promote green shopping practices among its consumers. “By giving the option of green shopping, you can prove that you do care, and that you are doing something to positively impact the environment,” Gorman maintains.
But what are some specific examples of steps that companies can take? “If it’s a retail-based business, then you can always make reusable shopping bags available,” Gorman opines. “Make it plain to your shoppers that, if they want to avoid wasting plastic bags, you are happy to help them do it!”
Whenever a company does anything to go green—or even has advice to give to others who want to go green—they should let people know about it. That is Gorman’s next tip. “Through a company blog, a social media presence, or regular press releases, brands can showcase their green initiative or their green know-how,” comments Gorman.
He goes on to provide an example. “Plumbing companies can do much to reveal green tips to their customers, potential customers, and social media followers,” he says. “I’ve seen plumbers who offer weekly ‘green plumbing’ tips on their Facebook page, or else provide green plumbing advice in the form of a blog entry. This kind of thing goes a long way toward letting people know that you take the environment seriously.”
Social media and blog entries aside, companies can also include green information on their websites. “This is something that I often notice with manufacturing companies,” notes Rich Gorman. “Many of them will include, on their corporate website, a few words about the green practices they have, or the environmental standards they meet. This assures clients and customers that you are making an effort at green activism.”
Other companies go even further. “Go back to the plumbers, who, in addition to offering green plumbing tips on Facebook, can also have a green plumbing FAQ on their website,” he observes. “There is never any harm in making it clear to your consumers that you want to help them positively impact the earth.”
Companies can also look for green charities or non-profits to support. “Most companies engage in some kind of corporate philanthropy, so if going green matters to you, then put your money where your mouth is,” remarks Gorman. “Of course, if you do this, it is also important to let people know about it. Link to those charities or non-profits from your website, or do a press release about the work they’re doing, and how you support them.”
Rich Gorman also advises companies to think about holding green-themed events. “Hosting an event where the proceeds go to a green organization—or even doing something like a roadside cleanup—can really show customers and clients that you’re serious about the earth, and that yours is a socially responsibly brand,” he says.
He goes on to offer one final green branding tip, which is to seek out the industry’s current environmental standards. “If you’re a trucking company, you can’t call yourself ‘green’ if you are not at least rising to the same standards of other trucking companies,” he says. “Do some research into what other brands in your niche are doing, and use that information to pinpoint a strategy for moving forward. See how much you need to be doing in order to truly be a green brand.”
The bottom line, for Gorman: “Going green is not just a matter of doing the right thing. It’s also a matter of encouraging others to follow suit—and when you do that, the bottom-line effects for your business can prove significant.”
Rich Gorman is a long-time marketing professional and an online branding expert.