A company wishing to go green should focus on the green consumer, right? Not so, argues Steve Bishop, global lead of Design for Sustainability at IDEO, in a Harvard Business Review article. For a company that wants to go green, the green consumer niche is almost irrelevant.
For companies large and small, marketing green has proven difficult for a variety of reasons. Most consumers seek to satisfy their personal needs before considering those of the planet. Green for green’s sake products often don’t meet the basic needs that most people require from their products. And small, streamlined green brands that truly appeal to the environmentalist consumer can’t reach the mainstream, according to Bishop.
As a result, most companies get stuck somewhere in the middle. When their marketing plan doesn’t work all that well, they simply take out a bigger megaphone. Hence the greenwashing epidemic we have today. So while the traditional marketing answer to the question, Should we market to the green consumer? has been yes, the better answer, according to this article, is this: Instead of focusing on a green niche, focus on green behaviors that everyone can aspire to.
Consumers want solutions to their day-to-day problems that also make sense for the environment. So, according to the article, companies should stop trying to appeal to green consumers by building green myths into the products they have and start creating real products that tell their environmental story for them.