Green alone won’t ‘recession-proof’ eco-friendly products

25 03 2009

By Contributing Writer Melissa Chungfat | Part of Green Printer‘s ‘Design Goes Green’ dispatch.

While more people are cutting back during the recession, green sales still remain strong with companies that have positioned themselves well in branding and marketing. It’s a topic that the much anticipated April 20th PSFK “Creativity for Change, Ideas to Make Things Better” conference in New York City will be speaking about as part of their sustainable and socially conscience agenda.

Recently, reported on a survey that revealed, “68 percent of consumers say that even in a recession they would remain faithful to a brand if it supports a good cause; nearly seven in 10 would be prepared to pay more for eco-friendly products.” Buyers plan to remain loyal to products that they perceive to have strong social value.
While that’s great news for green businesses, being green alone isn’t going to make enviro-friendly products recession-proof.

Effective communication is vital to success. That includes visual branding and talking to your audiences regularly. Any organization  from small non-profits to multinational corporations  that has invested in branding understands its value and the lasting benefits.


John Williams, from GraphixStation design firm, says, “Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business. The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials — all of which should integrate your logo — communicate your brand.”

Companies can also learn from non-profits that have invested in branding and communication strategies to establish a strong identity for their target audiences.


Substance151 is a design firm that was tasked with developing a brand image for the Green Building Institute (GBI) that reflected the organization’s vision of the world where natural and built environments co-exist.

The GBI’s Acting Executive Dictor, Michelle Bishop, wanted to, “Tailor the brand message to the goals of The Green Building Institute and the needs of our numerous audiences.”

The organization wanted to develop online and offline materials with the brand to communicate with their audiences. Any printed materials were done on 100% PCW and FSC-certified paper and soy-based inks.

Even before the brand can be developed, it’s important to do some self-reflection, including having a well-defined mission and a clear idea of how your organization wants to be perceived. GBI was working to advance environmentally sustainable building practices through education and example.

Having a great brand with an effective design is much more than making materials look pretty; it communicates your identity, values, products, services, and your messages. Over time, people can develop a strong relationship and loyalty with your brand.

McMillan | Doolittle

While this process takes time, organizations that begin the process early on have reaped the rewards.  In the report, Neil Stern of Chicago-based retail consulting firm McMillan|Doolittle said retailers who got involved in green branding early on, such as Home Depot, Target and Office Depot, are doing a better job of balancing the environmental message with quality and price.

Home Depot is one of several companies that has been able to keep green sales strong from the relationship they have developed with their customers through their brand. Even while overall sales were down, their Eco Options label of energy-efficient products are outperformed conventional merchandise sales across the board.

Having the right messaging and regular communication with your audiences works in conjunction with your brand. Home Depot’s advertising message is that products are great for the environment with a new lower price. Jarvis said, “Consumers are looking for green products that they can afford. Focusing on opening price points in our advertising shows them that they don’t have to spend any more than they would on conventional products to buy green.”

Brand design and effective communication with your audiences are essential in building loyalty to your company. Creating a strong foundation from the beginning increases your chances of a solid long-lasting relationship during good times and bad times.

Want to know how much greenhouse gas, trees and wastewater you can save by using affordable, eco-friendly paper products? Find out and keep track of your organization’s environmental savings today by adding Green Printer’s Eco-Calculator widget code to your blog or website.



2 responses to “Green alone won’t ‘recession-proof’ eco-friendly products”

30 03 2009
ArgosyCasinoLawrenceBurg (08:53:14) :

Good info, thanks for it.

1 06 2009
Green Printer Blog Green alone won 39 t 39 recession proof 39 eco | Portable Greenhouse (02:19:11) :

[…] Green Printer Blog Green alone won 39 t 39 recession proof 39 eco Posted by root 15 minutes ago ( Mar 25 2009 jarvis said consumers are looking for green products that they can afford want to know how much greenhouse gas trees and wastewater you can save by using leave a comment name required rss middot comments rss middot valid xhtml 1 1 middot desig Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Green Printer Blog Green alone won 39 t 39 recession proof 39 eco […]

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