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Green Trends for 2009: Simplicity, Responsibility and Community

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Increased concern for family, community and the environment

Hugh Hough is president of Green Team Advertising, New York, and he is working with large nonprofits and corporations to help them develop their environmental and cause campaigns.

Hough sees a shift in the cultural winds that is significantly affecting how consumers and companies are coping with this economic turbulence.

"The world is changing. The current economic crisis is causing people around the globe to reevaluate their priorities. Several themes are taking shape, and brands that can most quickly embrace them will be the ones best poised to prosper, even during hard times," he says.


Many people who have lost their jobs, taken pay cuts or seen their savings accounts eroded have been forced to reduce spending. While, initially, this scaling-back may feel like sacrifice, over time, many will begin to appreciate and even enjoy a more simplified version of their daily lives.

Consumers who were able to keep their jobs and maintain their incomes will turn toward simplicity, as well. Look for a growth in household activities, both traditional and less so. Knitting is up, as is anything related to home theater. Traditional recipes (comfort food) will continue to gain popularity. Consumers will also seek to find new efficiencies in the operation of their homes and lives. Simpler will coexist with smarter.

What can your brand do? Embrace the spirit of simplicity. Reduce your packaging. Reduce your SKUs. Perhaps it's time to give consumers less choice.

Reject Ostentatious Displays of Wealth

Need we say more?

Community Gets Broader and Deeper

Consumer confidence is at an all-time low. When people aren't confident, they look to others for help. Acts of collaboration, while borne of necessity, will forge a spirit of solidarity that will carry on once times get better. A larger sense of community will emerge.

Global environmental stewardship will be seen as an extrapolated concern for the community.

Embrace your community. Start with your employees. Look at ways of adding depth to the relationship you have with them. Recognize that environmental responsibility is a journey, and create a platform that will permit and encourage your shareholders to join you.

The Future?

Hough's vision for the future is about deep change, "The current global economic crisis is tearing down many of the pillars that have supported business and society since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. But from these ashes will rise a consumer marketplace that is more values-driven: simplicity, responsibility and community. If your brand can genuinely live and articulate these values, it will be in a position to thrive."

SOURCE: MediaPost, "The Sky May Not Be Falling, But The Ground Is Definitely Shifting"; Author, Hugh Hough, May 13, 2009

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