[Clean and Green] Lots of Exciting News, Deep Sustainability

In This Issue…

  • Lots of Exciting News
  • Deep Sustainability
  • Another Recommended Book Twelve by Twelve, by William Powers
  • Hear & Meet Shel
  • Friends who Help

Lots of Exciting News

Goodness! So much going on here at Clean and Green World Headquarters—let me fill you in on some of it.

First, this month’s issue has both a bunch of really cool advice on copywriting for the Green market AND a review of a new, important yet not-well-known sustainability book (see the two main articles)

Also some very big deal speeches coming up, starting with my talk for Green America’s GreenFest at the DC Convention Center Saturday, October 23. I think it may be the largest group I’ve addressed so far. (See the Hear & Meet section).

Now, here’s some of what’s going on:

  • My newest site, Green and Profitable, is up and running, although not in final form. This will be the new home of my blog and is also the launching pad for  a self-syndicated column: Green And Profitable. If you or someone you know would like to run my column on Green business success, please visit the site and get in touch. There will be a third sample column posted soon.
  • Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green is now available in Kindle format as well as paperback (click on the link and scroll to the bottom to direct links for several retailers).  And don’t forget, if you register your purchase of any format on the bonus page at http://guerrillamarketinggoesgreen.com, there are about $2000 in extra bonuses coming to you (use the same link to preview the bonuses).
  • New and much more affordable ad rates and options for FrugalMarketing and FrugalFun—and, for the first time, including in-context ads. Prices start at just $9.50 per month.
  • The International Association of Earth-Conscious Marketers continues to move forward. And it really is international, with people expressing interest from Bali, Dubai, Britain, and elsewhere. We hope to accept memberships early next year. Meanwhile, you can ask to be notified by leaving your e-mail or subscribing to the RSS feed at the organization’s website.  If you’d like to be actively involved in shaping the organization, please Tweet the words “IAECM Steering Commitee” and your e-mail address to @ShelHorowitz

Deep Sustainability

The old Green messages are beginning to look a bit pale. Accusations of greenwashing are rife, and often, those charges have more than a little substance—does anyone really believe BP is a Green company anymore?

So does that mean Green marketing is dead? What’s a conscious marketer to do?

First of all, I don’t for a moment believe that Green is dying, let alone dead. But just as parents stop diapering their babies once they’ve been toilet trained and expect them to wipe their own tushes from that point on, so we as Green marketers need to take greater responsibility for our messaging. Like those toddlers who are mastering not only toilet training but walking and talking and table manners and a whole bunch of other stuff all at once, we have to stand on our own feet, even if it feels a bit wobbly at first.

So here are a few marketing guideposts on your own wobble toward sustainable marketing:

  • Be clear and specific. Today’s informed consumer doesn’t just want to hear “we’ve gone Green.” They’ll respond better to something like “by introducing this new, efficient packing machine, we’ve reduced solid waste by 18 percent and cut carbon emissions by 368 tons a year.”
  • Make consumers understand what each of these accomplishments means to them: “That solid waste reduction means we don’t have to bring nearly as much to the landfill, which means lower costs passed on to you, longer landfill life, and fewer non-degradable materials clogging up the landfill. Lower carbon means 68 fewer asthma cases in our county every year, as well as reducing catastrophic global warming.”

(If you’re familiar with the concept of features vs. benefits, you’ll note that the first bullet stresses features—which are by themselves seldom enough to sell successfully—and the second bullet translates those features into direct benefits both to the consumer and to the world. Features provide the gear-heads (who already understand what they mean, and can supply the benefits themselves) something to look at; benefits speak to average consumers through their own emotional needs and wants, and are much more powerful—but you need both, in many cases.)

  • Raise the bar on your industry’s standards for going Green. Have you achieved zero waste in a facet of production? Have you switched to compostable plastics—that you’re actually composting? Have you figured out a way to cut energy or water use by some huge percentage? Are you sourcing a larger percentage of materials from sustainable-practices vendors? Say so! You’ll get the competitive advantage of doing this before others—and once your competitors start imitating, you can still get good marketing mileage out of having been first.
  • Stay away from messaging that won’t be believed. If you’re promoting nuclear power or large-scale biomass, for example, any attempt to portray your company as Green will come back to bite you. Best, of course, is not to promote those products at all, but if you have to promote them, get out of the Green space and find other ways to market (or should I say, defend) these environmentally toxic technologies. Both of these have been promoted as Green alternatives, and neither one passes the sniff test.
  • If the Green content of your practices is questionable or largely unknown, be prepared to document it in your messaging. Thoroughly. I went to a solar festival this summer where a couple of the exhibitors were talking about “biochar.” From their materials, it looked to me like just another variant on burning wood: points for renewability, certainly, but NOT for clean emissions or carbon impact reduction. By failing to convince me that they were truly Green, these companies left me highly skeptical of other claims they (or their competitors) might make.
  • Involve your supply chain. Just as “no man is an island,” neither is a corporation. You have vendors who sell to you, and customers who buy from you. You have ancillary services involved, such as transportation or security. And you have both carrot- and stick-flavored leverage you can exert to help these companies go Green. The carrots: not only will they get more of your business, but you will promote them in your Green marketing campaigns. The stick? If they fail your sustainability criteria, you’ll choose another vendor who is more earth-centered.

Another Recommended Book Twelve by Twelve, by William Powers

“Enough is the sweet spot between too little and too much.”

—William Powers

Normally, the books I recommend here are quite easy to see as business books. Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream, by William Powers (New World Library, 2010) isn’t like that. In fact, it’s kind of a look at what life might be like if we all *stopped* doing business as usual.

Something of a cross between Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Thoreau’s Walden with more than a dash of wider social visionaries like E.F. Schumacher and Hazel Henderson thrown in, this gorgeously written book chronicles the author’s sojourn of several months in a 12? x 12? handmade cabin, without electricity or running water, in the North Carolina backwoods but within an easy drive of Raleigh-Durham. Documenting the journeys toward sustainability that he, his wildly different assortment of “eccentric” neighbors (racist refugees from urban squalor on one side, a Mexican immigrant craftsman on the other) and his urban friend undergo separately and together, he also looks penetratingly at what it means to be sustainable in modern society…how “primitive” cultures such as those he’d lived in as an aid worker in Liberia (Africa) and Bolivia (South America) offer some lessons to the industrialized world, and vice versa…and what happens when government regulators, megacorporations, or even well-meaning, philanthropic land developers stand between homesteaders and their dream. These different dramas play out in both optimistic and pessimistic ways.

Most of all, we look into Powers’ own soul, as he struggles with a whole series of physical and psychological dynamics that weave together his past, his time in the cabin, and his unknown future.

To me, as a Green business activist and consultant, the questions Powers raises are questions we need to address if we want to Green the world. I see Twelve by Twelve as a book to reread every year or two, going a layer or two deeper each time.

As he notes in the final pages, “we decide what gets globalized—consumption or compassion; selfishness or solidarity—by how we cultivate the most valuable place of all, our inner acre. (p. 258)

Hear and Meet Shel

October

  • Tuesday, October 12 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT: My third annual presentation to the MUSE Online Writers Conference. This time, Selling a Self-Published Book to a Traditional Publisher
  • Wednesday, October 13, I’ll be interviewed again for the Guerrilla Marketing Association’s weekly calls–this time by Alexandru Israil from Romania, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
  • Saturday, October 23, 2 pm ET, Green America’s Green Fest, Washington Convention Center, Green Business Pavilion, Washington, DC. Live talk: Green and Ethical Messages to Reach Green and Ethical Customers. Contact: Denise Hamler, denisehamler (at) greenamericatoday.org
  • Wednesday Oct. 27th, 1:30p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT, Dr. Vitt Argent interviews me for KIVA Talk Radio,

November

December

January
February
  • Second Annual Communication on Top Forum, Davos, Swtizerland, January 17, 2011. Tentative title: “Social Media, Internal Activism, and Corporate Social Responsiblity: How to Build Customer Loyalty AND a Greener Brand”
April
  • Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 10 AM-4 PM, my wife and I will exhibit again at Amherst Sustainability Festival in downtown Amherst, MA
Permanent Links to Audios and More (partial list)
Articles By Me

Friends Who Help

Wow! Where else can you find a teleseminar series with 30 faculty like this: Kevin Kelly (founder of Wired, part of the legendary Whole Earth Catalog, and author most recently of 1,000 True Fans)…Janet Switzer (coordinator of major marketing campaigns for people like Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup fame, and quite possibly the real reason for their success)…Peter Shankman (founder of HARO, the no-cost journalist/source matching service I’m always raving about–you ARE a member, I hope)…Joan Stewart (The Publicity Hound)…Warren Whitlock (co-author of what I believe is the first book on Twitter marketing)…Susan Harrow (expert on getting on Oprah and author of a book I love, Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul)…and many others. And it’s put together by David Mathisen of Be The Media (an amazing book). Yes, it costs—but the first three calls are no-charge previews. (Dave recently interviewed me—you can find the link in the Hear and Meet Shel section). http://shelhorowitz.com/go/jcUpEX

My friend Paula Langguth Ryan, author of Bounce Back From Bankruptcy, just released a no-charge 10-page special report called How to Know If It’s Time to File Bankruptcy. Paula wrote this report to give people a sense of peace as they ponder whether or not taking the big step toward bankruptcy is in their best interest. Paula confesses, “If I’d had someone to walk me through this when I was considering bankruptcy, I might have chosen a different path.” In this report, she also offers a paid (but optional) 30-minute Considering Bankruptcy Consultation: She could you see your situation with fresh eyes, so you can make an informed decision about which path you want to take.  Get your copy at http://bit.ly/bfQnT8

Accurate Writing & More, 16 Barstow Lane , Hadley, MA 01035, United States

Some of the above links are affiliate links that earn me commissions if you purchase.

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