Does Green Marketing Generate More Greenbacks?

If I were to ask you to list five brands that are “green,” you’d probably rattle off five consumer brands. Next, I’d be interested to know how you found out they were “eco-friendly” or “green.” Was it through marketing?

Lately, I’ve heard stories of brands across many industries—including B to B—taking great pains to be green.

Advertising’s Greener Pastures

Two large-budget and highly-visible recent outdoor examples are from Coca-Cola and Ricoh.

Coca-Cola teamed with World Wildlife Fund to create a billboard loaded with air-pollutant absorbing plants. (Reminds me of the Rose Bowl parade floats!)

And leading the industry in B to B green advertising is Ricoh, who provides “managed document services” such as copiers and facsimile machines. (Anyone know where the fax machine is…?) Ricoh is doubling their solar-powered billboard real estate: the first in Times Square and now in London.

Great examples, but do you or I have that kind of budget? Umm…

Marketing Green Brands

In June, Landor published The 2011 ImagePower® Green Brands Survey, capturing the perspectives of more than 9,000 respondents in eight countries.

The survey results suggest that green marketers would be smart to use tactics other than print or outdoor advertising. Of the American respondents, 29 percent said “packaging” has the greatest impact on their likelihood to buy a green product, while 27 percent said “word of mouth”—blog reviews, industry professionals’ testimonials, etc.

So back to the question on hand: will branding as “green” gather more greenbacks?

Not necessarily. Product pricing is a big factor.

Thirty-seven percent of U.S. respondents were not willing to spend more on products just because they are “green” (compared to 4% in China and 40% in the UK). However, 33% of Americans surveyed said they would spend up to 10% more on a green product (compared to 40% in China and 43% in the UK).

While this was consumer study from Landor, there are a number of green issues which B to B companies can consider and continue to improve in their own workplace—such as recycling, energy consumption, air pollution, etc.—as well as issues to consider when making company purchases.

(At the end of the day, B to B businesspeople are also consumers! We have the same natural tendencies whether buying for our home or workplace.)

For B to B, would you say the decision is merely based on initial cost vs. ROI when purchasing “eco-friendly,” “energy-saving” or “green” products? What other factors play into your B to B “green” purchases?