Thursday, May 07, 2009

Green claims alone just won't cut it

Do you want to sell green? Well, green by itself won't cut it with the great majority of consumers, says Honey Rand, Ph.D., APR, an engaging ball of energy with a smiling, here’s-the-real-deal way of making a point.

Rand runs a Florida-based consulting, pr and issues management firm that specializes in environmental issues and was one of the presenters at the recent American Society of Irrigation Consultants (ASIC) conference. Here's what she shared with the irrigation professionals about selling green to today’s consumers — four selling points:

1) An economic reason

2) An environment reason

3) A social reason

4) A political reason

Get any combination of three of these right and — bingo — you’ve got the sale. (Actually, Rand’s phrase was “you’ll change public policy,” which we’re taking as a flashback to her days as director of communication for the South Florida Water Management Agency).

Rand, Environmental PR Group, Lutz, FL, used the example of a swimming pool service to make her point. Apparently, there’s a movement to replace the fresh water in residential swimming pools with salt water. (Since not LM editor owns a swimming pool we'll take her word for it.) Companies are selling this service by providing the following reasons:

1) economic reason — pool treatments are less expensive

2) environmental reason — reduces or eliminates the need for chlorine

3) social reason — less time is spent maintaining the pool

4) political reason — none for this particular example

The take home message: Few consumers select a green service or product solely on green claims. Your product or service will need to be competitively priced, and if it delivers other benefits, you've got a sale.

What consumers really want is “substantive value,” said Rand.

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