Kermit the Frog once said it “ain’t easy being green,” but many would beg to differ. Gone are the days where being eco-friendly made you a “tree hugger” or a “hippie.” Interest in environmentally friendly practices across industries is now the norm, and a green marketing tactic can be a way to earn consumer trust.
In order to adapt, major corporations are tapping into the interest by going on the offensive with green marketing initiatives and company practices.
Here are four brands with major green marketing initiatives that may inspire you to delve deeper in the trend for your own marketing tactics.
GE may be a giant multinational conglomerate—with its hands in everything from healthcare to software to oil—but the corporation was one of the first to full-on embrace the green marketing movement. In 2005, GE announced “ecomagination,” an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas, introduce ecomagination products, and invest in clean energy. The roll out of “ecomagination” ended up being a smart marketing strategy. It not only signaled the beginning of major corporations embracing “green,” but ushered General Electric—a company that had been struggling with its brand image—into the 21st century.
A decade later, and “ecomagination” could be criticized as just being a marketing ploy—the company still maintains ties with major oil companies— but it does appears to be doing good in the world. Reuters reported that GE will spend another $10 billion on energy research by 2020.
Soft drink companies, with its sugary beverages and tons of container trash, don’t usually make the top list of green companies in consumers’ minds. However, Coca-Cola has been on the offensive to create eco-friendly practices that challenge its image.
Coca-Cola’s “Live Positively” campaign tackles a lot of social and environmental efforts with multiple campaigns and a branded site. One of the main initiatives was the development of the PlantBottle— made from 30% plant material gathered from the waste products of sugar cane. A promotional video tugs at viewers’ heart strings as the son of the creator of PlantBottle describes the process and explains how proud he is of his mom.
The soft drink brand has also developed ad spots that highlight where recycled plastic soda bottles end up after the process. A partnership was formed between Coca-Cola and musician will.i.am to launch EKOCYCLE – a shared initiative to highlight recycling. According to the website , its mission is to “make more sustainable living cool.”
Toyota may have lost its top spot on Interbrand’s Best Global Green Brands for 2014 to Ford this year, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fierce green advocate in the number two spot. In addition to its commitment to quality hybrid vehicles, Toyota has made green manufacturing practices and community involvement a priority. An infographic from the company’s site shows some “fast facts” on the impact Toyota has been able to achieve from its green initiatives.
The car brand has also developed a partnership with the National Audubon Society dubbed “Toyota TogetherGreen” that has spawned multiple conservation efforts. With its marketing initiatives, TogetherGreen has commissioned celebrities— like The Office’s Kate Flannery, Modern Family’s Nolan Gould, and Dog with a Blog’s Danielle Soibelman— to appear in spots highlighting the initiatives conservation efforts.
TogetherGreen has also established a Fellowship Program that helps different leaders and communities fund their own conservation initiatives. The grassroots marketing effort has involved more than 145,000 participants across the country bringing big recognition to the brand’s green efforts.
As Interbrand’s Best Global Green Brands for 2014, Ford has been on a mission for the past few years to create more sustainable practices and more ecofriendly products. The main goal of Ford’s green marketing initiative is simply to live it. For example, two of Ford’s more popular models—the Escape and Focus—are built out of 80% recycled material. The motor company also uses sustainable fabrics in all of its vehicles.
The auto manufacturer creates eco-friendly products, but also expands the green practices into the building those products. Perhaps the most impressive green initiative from Ford is “The Living Roof” – one of the largest living roofs on the planet with 10.4 acres of garden that help to clean storm water, insulate the building, and protect the building’s materials from the elements.
By instituting continual, sustainable green practices the brand shows it’s committed to the cause in full force—something that is attractive to eco-conscious types who still need a vehicle to get around.
Mattie Quinn contributed to this feature.