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In Sustainable Marketing, Words Matter

Today, we face a sophisticated language problem – and therefore opportunity – when it comes to green marketing. It seems that the meme of “greenwashing” has subsided a bit. In fact, the “gotcha” green marketing moment in 2009 was not about greenwashing at all. The most exciting moment for authentically … Read more »

The ‘Noble Distractions’ of CSR, Part I: Transparency

In the environmental space, the practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is on an evolutionary arc, predominantly propelled by external forces: pulled by the lure of competitive benefits evidenced by leading practitioners (Stonyfield, Seventh Generation, Patagonia, etc., etc.); and pushed by watchdog, consumer, shareholder, and public expectations. More often than … Read more »

The Noble Distractions of CSR, Part II: 3rd Party Certifications

This three part series is designed to inspire dialogue around the values of Authentic CSR. “Authentic” is not used as a precondition for “ethically better.” Rather, it is used as an internal strategic gauge/guide – i.e. what does successful CSR look like when driven by your company rather than some … Read more »

The Linguistic Landscape of Sustainability: Green Progeria

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” -Linguist, Benjamin Whorf In this Whorf is correct: language informs what and how we are permitted to think about things. The tail wags the dog. This is why, in 2009,we published our first study on the language … Read more »

Wink: More on Sustainability in Marketing

For those of you who have read this column for the past few months, you will likely think of me as the pessimistic wretch of green marketing.  Perhaps you picture me in a suede-patched jacket grumbling about power paradigms, and quoting Foucault while over-contextualizing sustainability in a pathologically consumption driven … Read more »

The Lost Art of Authenticating Real

Maybe it’s the impending election, maybe it’s the omnipresence of digital lives, but everyone is talking about authenticity. Oddly, mostly, it’s marketers and branders who have taken up the mantle of offering strategies for “being authentic.” But there’s no doubt, as evidenced by the growth of farmer’s markets, the return … Read more »

Starting Over, Sustainably

Or, Rise of the Planet of the Reboot. America loves reboots. It’s a go-to strategy for Hollywood accountants and humans looking for behavior change. We love the whole hog-body transformation in 90-days-all or nothing approach to change. Incremental change doesn’t seem to satiate the soul any more. And while research … Read more »

Writing Disruptive Corporate Responsibility Reports

A while ago my firm was hired to, as the strategy brief challenged, “…imagine the future of the sustainability report. Be disruptive.” The client asked us to consider this evolution and made it clear that a perfectly acceptable answer could be, “there is no future for the sustainability report.” The … Read more »

Advertising is the Price You Pay for Not Being Creative

“Survival of the fittest” is often attributed to Darwinism.  More accurately, however, Darwin was describing “survival of the flexible” as those species most rewarded with longevity.  In the midst of an economic crisis stacked on top of an environmental crisis, it is this agility that is quickly defining the business … Read more »