The Marketing of Green is not a new concept as it has been a part of the marketing vernacular since the early 1970’s, but recently it seems to be coming at us in waves through every medium available. Everyone and everything is green, and almost every day I receive a green related email. There are emails that report on a business segment’s green focus (i.e. travel, restaurants, hotels, etc.), or an email stating that a company is green as they only communicate and do business by email, I guess they must all work from home.
The environment is not an area that I am taking lightly and I know that once we do harm to land, water, or the atmosphere, it may take multiple lifetimes to recover if it recovers at all. Thus, through every form of media available our environment’s precarious position is well documented, but how do we deal with the in-your-face marketing of green while at the same time dealing with greenwash marketing and green sheen companies? (Wikipedia defines greenwash and green sheen as: Greenwash is a term that is used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. The term Green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations which attempt to appear that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.)
It is safe to say that we all have encountered both greenwash and green sheen related practices, or we may have questioned the green authenticity of a promotion or product. Throughout my travels I have found that countries are a bit perplexed on how to market their green consciousness. It is not that they do not understand marketing or ecological marketing; I feel that it is difficult for countries to market their basic instinct of respect and involvement to protect their environment. I, like they, believe that the attention should be on the experiences from the destination and the people.
Where is the line drawn between over marketing a concept and credibility?
In the case of Ecotourism [“Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”], we sometimes get lost in the chatter of marketing instead promoting the experience, the people, and the destination. Protecting our environment is not a fad, although marketing campaigns come and go. The environment needs to become a part of everyone’s consciousness, not just a marketing angle.
In the case of travel, I hope that people are eco-conscious and that they are traveling to experience the destination, create memories, build an appreciation for what they have, meet people, and learn from the experiences.
So, once we move beyond ‘The Marketing of Green’ and we bring the focus back to the substance of the product, maybe, just maybe businesses will not feel that they need to follow the fad and will drive attention to the value added benefits.