I mentioned in my last blog that Elin Raymond, president of branding/marketing firm The Sage Group wrote a second article in Packaging Digest on their survey results. This article focuses on sustainable branding strategies and tactics for each generational group based on the survey and research findings. The general idea is to not put all your eggs in one basket if you want to be successful at sustainable branding to all generational groups (Millennials 17 to 25 years, GenXers 26 to 40 years, Boomers 41 to 55 years and Matures 56-plus years). However, Elin notes that there are a few similarities between the groups: “(1) They all benefit from sustainability information related to your product; (2) they all rely on friends' product recommendations; (3) and they all want to try a new product before they buy it. And based on the current economic freefall, price is likely a greater consideration than before.”

The Millennials and GenXers were dubbed “the well connected” as the article continues. A bulleted list is provided with tactics when creating an online life and friends to reach these two internet connected generations. The list includes stats on companies using social media in their branding and marketing (85%!) as well as good strategies and tactics using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They also mention getting sustainable products in on GoodGuide, Inc’s app for iPhone that includes more than 65,000 green products.

Elin names the Boomers and Matures “the sustainable savviest” being the most committed to environmentalism. The key is to raise their awareness as they are hungry for information and have the most time (in comparison to the Millennials and GenXers I imagine) to commit to learning. The list of targeting tactics for these two generations suggests ads, articles and TV news spots but mainly being a sustainable resource for information. Keeping these generations involved with direction to your company’s website for product discounts, special offers and environmental information. This help’s you collect email addresses in order to send out special offers and to test products and product line extensions. Collecting Boomers and Matures’ feedback and rewarding their input will help develop new products and marketing strategies.

Among many great findings and suggestions, Elin states “Today, nothing communicates a company's brand and values more than its Website. It's a venue for creating brand connections and providing eco-educational opportunities. Include customer testimonials throughout the site; videotape the best and upload to both the site and YouTube. According to a Nielsen 2007 poll, nearly 80 percent of consumers trust the advice of other consumers.” Blogs and forums are also a great way for consumers to share eco-tips and personal experiences. This article lists Dell and Starbucks as companies that use a blog or forum to listen and learn from customers as well as Proctor & Gamble encouraging customers to be involved in product development.

Take a read through Elin’s article and see if it sparks any clever sustainable marketing ideas for your company. The Sage Group’s survey certainly shows that times have changed and to be creative in your strategies to expand and involve your consumer base.
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Tina Lamanna

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