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How Green Marketing Can Cope with Consumer Generated Content

Content still matters in advertising -- and green marketers have more and better content than any yesteryear giant!

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Green Marketing and Consumer Generated Content

Green marketing is in the hub of advertising and marketing change. The world is changing and communication is changing with it. Not just the Internet or technology. But the very essence of who is communicating, what they communicate and how they choose to participate.

The world is getting connected. More educated people are participating in grassroots decision making. Collaboration is growing and top-down authoritarian organization is declining. Discussion is replacing lecture. Consumer-generated content is growing. Rating and ranking systems are monitoring user-interests.

Transparency, Referrals and Social Media

Green marketing is part of this change. Transparency and referrals of products abound. Transmission of ideas is global. Networks of people and companies into new paradigms of local or global communities are forming. Credentialing and certification programs form hubs of industries.

These green or sustainable techniques are also affecting -- or infecting -- traditional advertising and marketing systems.

Traditional Advertising and Marketing is Facing Change

JWT worldwide chairman and CEO Bob Jeffrey opened Nielsen Business Media's Next Big Idea Conference (Oct 2007) with a broadside against current industry practices, declaring that in stressing "execution over ideas" agencies were responsible for "dumbing down" brands.

Jeffrey challenged the notion that consumer choice and consumer-generated content equate to being in "greater control." Instead, Jeffrey said, consumers are cast in a "constant decision-making" mode about everything from who represents an authority to who is more entertaining.

"Checking all the boxes is not equal to doing the right thing," Jeffrey said. "To become masters of collaboration, we need to adopt a different point of view."

Advertising and Marketing Communications Trends

Collaboration and diversity are the trends that green marketers are fostering with the growing interest in values such as transparency, authenticity, community and corporate social responsibility.

Jeffrey cited as "iconic brands swimming against the current" companies such as Apple, Whole Foods and Harley-Davison as well as "non-brand slut" JWT clients De Beers and JetBlue. "They have reignited the primacy of the brand," he said. "In talking about the brands, the conversations get more interesting."

Who is swimming against the current more than green marketers?! It's no longer "the jolly green giant," it's "green vs. giant". Companies are finding that choice between blue and yellow isn't enough. Consumers are starting to ask for "green"... real choice of environmentally sound principals and practice vs. surface dressing on the same old choices.

Quoting a 100-year-old motto from the archives of JWT, Jeffrey said the modern agency had to learn how to mingle the "good old things and the good new things."

Multicultural, Fluid and Open-Minded Is the Trend

Jeffrey called for an end to what he called "idea racism." He said the new brand-building model is "not authoritative, not status-quo driven, more multicultural, more fluid and more open minded."

Green marketing is leading communications into the future, and if our brightest minds will stay the course by crafting solid business models based on corporate and community social responsibility, our advertising dialog can also be greened. Less quantity. More quality.

Communication is important. We need to know what options are available to support our life support needs -- and we need real, quality information to make good choices. That's what green marketing's purpose can it's greenest.


Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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