We all want to tell the story about how or why our company is green, but what 4 key elements need to be included in that story? Let’s look at bringing out cost savings, competitive advantage, doing the right thing and customer testimonials in your story.
It’s still a business world out there. We’ll talk a little more about doing the right thing in point #3, but most people and business clients want to save money over their existing processes or practices. If your green product or service can do that, they will read with significant interest. This part of your green story has to show how the user will save money, either over the short haul or over a reasonable long period. Included in these savings will be any aspects of time or productivity savings. Time is money and if your solution saves time, this can be converted into cost savings.
By helping your client meet or exceed regulations, you allow your client to brag about meeting regulations or being first to advertise they meet the regulations. Even if everyone else is meeting the regulation, being the first to announce it forces others to either be defensive or to jump in and say “me too.” A good example was the Miller beer commercials in the 80’s that claimed they filtered their beer. Everyone filters their beer, but nobody thought of it as a “benefit” of drinking their beer and it caused all the competitors to admit they do it too, but everyone thinks of Miller as the only ones to do it, since they advertised it first.
Doing the right thing
By being green, you join or even lead the effort to save our planet. It identifies your company as evangelist, even with moderate publicity. Being green is always good to have as part of your company’s mission and objectives, for the same reasons above for cost cutting and competitive advantage. It’s easier to sell the idea to your customers if you walk the talk within your company.
You have to have a legitimate claim to be green otherwise the adverse publicity of “greenwash” will hurt you more. Greenwash is basically having a message that tries to jump on the green bandwagon with nothing tangible to support it. Being green allows you to brag and be an evangelist/leader.
There is no better way to say your products or services are great then when a customer says it for you. With appropriate customer testimonials sprinkled throughout your green story or to have them as the focus on how they used your product or services, the story writes itself.
A green story is no different than any good business story except for the addition of doing the right thing. All good business stories must address elements of cost savings, competitive edge and customer testimonials. A green story takes it to the next level and puts you ahead of your non-green competition. In the next article for this column, we will delve deeper in how to show the cost savings in your story.