By Marc Stoiber
There's something funny happening in the world of sustainable brands.
It isn't the fact more and more brands are embracing green. Leaders like Walmart and GE have made the business case for sustainability, and opened the floodgates to other brands looking for a competitive advantage.
It isn't the fact consumers are choosing green, either. As the twin stigmas of poor performance and high price fade away, shoppers feel safer buying eco-friendly brands. According to the 2010 ImagePower Green Brands study, 75% of U.S. consumers say it's "somewhat or very important to them" that the brands they buy come from green companies. That's translated into a 500% jump in green product launches between 2007 and 2009.
What is strange is an emerging pattern of how brands are marketing their green innovation. Or rather, not marketing it.
It better be green
Sustainability is a significant brand differentiator. It can be a driver of competitive advantage. So if you've got it, why not flaunt it?
I got my answer in a conversation about ingredient innovation with Steve Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Eco-Lips lip balm.
When asked about how the palm oil debate was impacting his brand, Shriver responded that Eco-Lips hadn't used the ingredient in years.
But nowhere in the product packaging or advertising was there a mention of "100% palm oil-free."
The reason? Shriver explained that consumers simply expected forward thinking from his brand. In their eyes, Eco-Lips had better use only the most ethically sourced ingredients. They wouldn't reward compliance--but they certainly would punish transgression.
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