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How to Promote Your Company’s Green Side


More than 40 million baby boomers say they are more likely to purchase environmentally-friendly products and use services from companies that are socially responsible. Given this, Better Business Bureau offers advice to help guide your company’s social responsibility efforts to boomers and other consumers.

Raleigh, NC, January 30, 2008 --(PR.com)-- How to Promote Your Company’s Green Side: BBB Encourages Businesses to Appeal to Consumers with Green Marketing Programs.

According to a recent survey by AARP, "socially conscious" shopping goals drive 54 percent of older Americans. This means more than 40 million baby boomers are also "green boomers" who say they are more likely to purchase environmentally-friendly products and use services from companies that are socially responsible. Older Americans also make up the most affluent segment of the U.S. population, and have the most discretionary income – $24,000 a year per household – according to The Conference Board. Given these facts, Better Business Bureau offers advice to help guide your company’s social responsibility efforts to boomers and other consumers.

Baby boomers are increasingly turning to online and mobile channels to research companies and comparison shop for a wide variety of products and services such as health and wellness information, travel and entertainment, real estate, and financial services. A recent report from eMarketer notes that baby boomers and silver surfers, or over-60s, are also becoming more interested in online news and user-generated content as well.

“Many green marketing efforts are designed to cater to younger and more active consumers of products, services and media,” said Beverly Baskin, president and CEO of the BBB of Eastern North Carolina. “However, businesses need to remember that boomers have lots of money to spend, and focusing green marketing on the younger demographic to the exclusion of boomers could be a very expensive mistake.”

Whether baby boomers or the younger generation, the consumer trend of caring about the impact of personal spending on the global stage is expected to spread. A recent survey by the marketing firm Tiller found that among all ages surveyed, 49 percent said they would aim to be greener in 2008.

Many products advertised as “green” or “organic” can sway purchasing decisions, but companies can also position themselves as socially conscious at a corporate level to attract customers. Such position begs the question though, what does it mean to be green and how can you communicate it in your advertising?

To help promote your company’s green efforts to all audiences, BBB offers the following advice for making “green” claims in advertising and marketing:

Tell the truth. A recent study by a Canadian-based marketing firm found that many products aren’t as earth-friendly as they say they are. While most products reviewed stated exaggerated claims, a few carried outright lies, mostly involving supposed certification from watchdog organizations.

Make concrete claims. An honest advertiser will not make vague statements such as “environmentally friendly” or “sustainable” without providing solid examples to back up the claim. If your packaging is made from recycled paper, then say so. If your company has reduced energy costs, then brag about it! Making fuzzy claims may get you into trouble with any and all consumer segments.

Provide evidence. Being a green company isn’t just about putting a recycling bin by the copier. You also need to be able to explain how you’re making the world a better place. Consider creative ways of quantifying your company’s impact such as: How many hours have your employees volunteered? Who has benefited and how have they benefited from your firm’s efforts.

Get a stamp of approval. While there is no universal “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for green claims, there are independent third-party organizations that will certify your environmentally-friendly statements such as EcoLogo (www.ecologo.org) or Green Seal (www.greenseal.org). The recent BBB/Gallup Trust in Business Index found that less than half of American consumers (49 percent) say they have a great deal (12 percent) or quite a lot (37 percent) of trust in businesses that they regularly deal with (www.us.bbb.org/trustindex), so consumer’s ability to trust your claims matters and certification helps.

Get expert help. It’s clear that consumers are becoming increasingly interested in environmental issues and corporate responsibility. As a result of the green-frenzy, many boutique marketing and advertising firms have been created to specialize in branding companies as environmentally-friendly and socially responsible. Getting professional PR help is typically costly; however, the rewards could be substantial in terms of revenue, reputation and goodwill.

For more reliable advice on best business practices and advertising guidelines for your business, as well as other ways to make your business more socially conscious, go to www.bbb.org.

About the BBB of Eastern North Carolina:
The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina is a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in Eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by membership dues from more than 3,200 local business and professional firms. The BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by the BBB include, reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, dispute resolution services, and consumer/business education programs. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit bbb.org.

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Media Contacts:
Cindy Stranad
cindy@articulon.com
(919) 232-5008 x101

Beverly Baskin, BBB
bbaskin@raleigh.bbb.org
(919) 277-4202
Contact Information
Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina
Amy Wojciechowski
919-232-5008
Contact
www.bbbenc.org

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