Landor – a leading brand strategy firm – published their 2009 trends forecast last week and I was very excited to see this language as they commented on the softening of the “green” trend: “Brands will need to integrate their commitment to sustainability into a larger message of efficiency, effectiveness, and value.” I was excited because it means that perhaps we’re starting to actually use the rationale behind why these products and services should be green and get beyond the moniker of “green” itself (which just feels totally stagnating and short-lived, if not totally off-putting to the greater society as an outcome of the hippy movement).
Landor notes that the intensity of this trend is softening. I think they’re right and wrong. Symptomatic marketing relative to eco and green might be less appetizing given the concerns of the world right now (in other words adios B*S*#), but consumer motivations are actually becoming even more grounded and inclined to respond to products and services that are community minded, built simply and incorporate honest claims. This isn’t exclusively green or sustainable but can be traced to the same roots. In fact, smart marketers should look to the motivators behind the interest in “green” (and social responsibility and philanthro-capitalism and CSR and cause marketing) and work to connect with consumers leveraging any trace of these values found within their own brands – not simply give the prescribed nod to “green” and “sustainable” but be a little more clever in connecting with what underlies these trends.