Friday, May 30, 2008

Building (and selling) sustainable brands

Next week more than 500 brand marketers from across North America will gather in Monterey, California for the now-annual Sustainable Brands conference. It’s a chance not only to learn from industry leaders and early adopters what’s working, but also to share new ideas and perspectives on how to build and communicate green brands.

I look forward to spending a few days with this group, and will post updates here through the week as I can. The speaker list is fantastic, with representatives from companies such as Best Buy, Clorox, Dow Chemical, eBay, GE, IBM, Georgia-Pacific and many more.

What’s particularly interesting to me is the different between building green brands, and marketing them. We’ve all noticed the vast acceleration of green messaging and touts from products and services in every direction. Some of these messages and products are clearly based in a fundamental desire to “do good,” combined with a product direction that prioritizes sustainability and lower carbon footprints.

Other recent brand claims, unfortunately, are more flimsy in nature. It’s the same ol’ product with a new “green” shine, and savvy consumers are crying foul (not to mention adding a heavy layer of skepticism in how they view the rest of us).

My guess is that the vast majority of attendees next week represent the more authentic group – those with either innovative new sustainable brands, or existing brands with an authentic desire to build and market products that truly change the way we’re impacting the world around us.

More next week…

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