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PRSA Session: Current Consumer Trends & Communicating with Green Media

Posted on Oct 28th, 2008
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  • PRSA Session: Current Consumer Trends & Communicating with Green Media
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    How To Leverage Current Consumer Trends & Most Effectively Communicate with Green Media

    At TopRank Online Marketing, many of our clients are intrigued with the prospect of going to market with green messaging. We match their excitement like most firms do when faced with the prospect of communicating an honest-to-goodness good story with so seemingly tailor made for results.

    Is it really enough to announce that you’re going green, however, if your objective is to receive coverage?

    The session “How To Leverage Current Consumer Trends & Most Effectively Communicate with Green Media” illustrated ways we could help ensure our clients do it right.

    Presented by Annie Longsworth of Cohn & Wolfe and Sandy Skees of Communications4Good, the session dispelled the myth that it is simply enough to announce yourself as green in order to achieve increased media coverage.

    One of the primary reasons being that people care about this messaging, but at the end of the day they don’t “really” care about this messaging. No one wants to see a cuddly old polar bear drown, when faced with the prospect of paying an extra dollar a day to ensure they don’t, we all of a sudden remember that if that bear had the chance, it would likely rip our face right off.

    Journalists are seeing this conflict hit the bottom line of their publications directly as, per example, Time Magazine recently saw their annual green issue come in with the third lowest sales of the year.

    The easiest way that PR professionals can combat this is simply by sharing “new” news and know that green may not be the lead story. (In fact, some journalists have been hit by green fatigue so heavily they simply will not cover a story unless it’s brand new).

    It’s not enough to get coverage by saying your hotel chain has implemented green practices nationwide, but if green were simply the side effect of say, environmentally friendly hover-shuttles to and from the hotel, well, you may have something.

    As this is my concluding post from this event, and this was my concluding session, I would like to finalize coverage with key trends associated with the green movement that can be leveraged both when contemplating green PR messaging (remember – think something BRAND NEW) or, truly, any other PR story or business practice:

    • Transparency – be open with who you are as an organization (whether in PR outreach, or in general), from both the good and the bad, and ensure everyone within your organization can speak to your mission.
    • Creative innovation is the quickest way towards better results. Example, UPS eliminated left-turns in their routes and saved 3 million gallons of gas their first year. Will your latest PR story lead with this anecdote, or will it lead with green? Which is more powerful? On the other side, what innovation can your company implement that will provide this kind of result?
    • Value optimism over fear – seriously, do you want to see another polar bear slowly dying, or do you want to see stories or corporate policies that begin with creative solutions rather than terrifying realities? Which do you think will spur action v. cowering?
    • Do good things, and you’ll probably make money – People love to read positive empowering stories, employees want to work for and will work hard for responsible employers, and all things being equal, consumers will buy from you if they believe in you.

    Yes, it is possible that it be all about money, all about results, all about our own ego – but still be centered around the good, centered around the positivity, centered around optimism.

    Apart from a flight taking my happily exhausted self home a bit earlier than 10:30pm EST, what more could we ask for?