If you happen to follow my other blog, about my nomadic adventures in life 🙂 you probably know my rule of 3. When searching for info, I scroll through results and choose 3 links that appear most relevant. I ask start up businesses who I work with for their top 3 marketing dilemmas/ questions. And this week I’ve chosen 3 green marketing/ sustainability articles that seemed most interesting. Here they are.
Plastic use and recycling are becoming a more urgent dilemma by the day. I know it’s taking it to extreme, but every time I buy something in plastic packaging, which thanks to the supermarkets is pretty much anything, I feel like I’ve killed another living creature on this planet *sigh* News of the plastic garbage patch drifting somewhere in the ocean, growing in size exponentially and poisoning ocean life only makes it worse. It seems that this whole plastic dilemma can only be solved through a systemic change – all have to commit to doing something – manufacturers, packaging companies, retailers, governments and yes, consumers. What I like about this article is that it gives very simple 3 steps. It’s a good start.
This second article talks about green marketing and how it needs to change to have an impact on the majority of us. I must admit I am in the choir, and this article is a good reminder of how we should not assume that everyone is on board. Sustainability unfortunately is not something many of us strive to or even think about. And so it needs to be sold, as a way to save money, to be hip, to spoil yourself or to care about loved ones. I don’t think this devalues the task in any way, it actually makes it more interesting. Here, you have a product that is much greener/ sustainable than the alternatives. It may cost the same or may be more expensive. How will you convince an average consumer that they absolutely have to have it? Any marketer worth his/ her salt would love this challenge.
My personal experience comes from a life changing 🙂 decision to switch from Colgate toothpaste that I’ve used most of my life to a greener alternative. How did this happen? One day I read ingredients on the Aquafresh toothpaste for my toddler. My hair raised. I get horrified at the toxic stuff manufacturers put into children’s products. I mean common do they allow their children brush their teeth with this stuff, knowing that many of the ingredients are toxic and linked to cancer? Then I read ingredients on my tube of Colgate. Decision was simple – I now have several tubes of Weleda, Lavera and AloeDent toothpaste in my bathroom cabinet. Bye bye Colgate.
And here is the problem. Their packaging is ok functionally, but not as streamlined as that of Colgate. Design wise it’s not as attractive. Toothpaste itself does a good job actually but it tastes yuk or weird in the best case scenario. It costs 4x more than Colgate. And it’s hard to know which brand to choose, they all look the same. Before, in my mind, Weleda and Lavera were always associated with elderly lady names – some handmade, corner of the shop, herbal stuff that is just not cool. But there was nothing to choose from. There was no cool looking, yummy tasting, natural toothpaste with a hip brand that has told me its story well and built trust.
To me, natural toothpaste (or any skincare or haircare for that matter) is the perfect example of how green brands need to get smarter about their products and play like the big guys. It’d be great if Colgate and Aquafresh could realise the wrongness of their ways and revisit their ingredients list making it natural. But it’s more probable that a small green brand will appear that will come up with an alternative fitting all criteria described above, and make it big, so big that Colgate and Aquafresh will have to take notice and have no choice but follow the suit.