Go Greeen ………How?


Ashish Ohlyan
MIB (2005-2007)
IMT, Ghaziabad

Naturals are big and here to stay. And in a large variety such as beverages, skincare, haircare , food products, lifestyle, leisure, fashion, ravel destinations and even jewellery. There is growing evidence that consumers consider a natural appeal highly inviting and motivating.Yet the size of naturals business in many categories remains small. that is curious, indeed.

And it leads to a few fundamental questions. If consumers are actively green attitudinally, behaviorally why they are passively green? or worse neutral? Why have businessmen not been able to fully leverage green inclinations? Are consumers indeed ahead of marketers in the naturals arena? it seems so.

Naturals are growing in appeal across markets. There is prolific consumer evidence that people attitudinally prefer naturals. Several advantages of naturals are felt and perceived. From a products use point of view, naturals promise no side effects, holistic impact, non intrusive action and long term benefits. This functional credibility that consumers associate with naturals across product categories is well established. what is more significant is that young consumers are more pro naturals. this is borne out strongly in recent research .

Young people who will be mainstream customers of tomorrow show strong green leanings. Lifestyle and attitude research based on target group indexing with a sample size of 17000 confirms this. In metros 15-19 years olds say they are prepared to pay more for environment friendly products. Also given a choice they will prefer to use a herbal product than a non herbal product. So if the appeal of naturals is so evident and their potential so ripe, why then are naturals businesses not the sweeping success they were meant to be?

Marketing theory tells us that beyond functionality as much as 50 % of overall appeal of a category or brand is driven by its emotional appeal or tugs. So one has to examine if there  is deep and powerful emotionale driving the buzz around naturals. Few business ideas in today's choice cluttered world have the credibility ,appeal and broad acceptance

That natural products enjoy. So could there be a  latent emotionale that natural businesses haven't tapped  into?

Being a growing segment ,naturals are perhaps among the most researched  fields-qualitatively, quantitatively and  in R&D terms. These researches revealed that functionally naturals are very strong and credible , with long term benefits and lack of negative effects, regardless of  product or service functions. However beyond functional fitness naturals as an overall appeal have a duality.

On one hand is the dark side of naturals. It is personified and visualized both literally and metamorphic ally  as old  and dark with associations like old age, grandfather, therapeutic, dull, old  film songs, black and white, disease, ayurveda . This comes with all the credibility and authority of naturals but with sensorial , emotional, and distant from today's consumers.

On the bright side of naturals  it is envisioned as bright , young , artistic, warm, liberating, sustentative and life changing.

Some brands have started to scratch surface of being natural- Santoor, Khadi, Margo etc..

But they still have to find their space under the sun. They can get there by stepping more fully into the bright side of naturals.

The key embedded association of naturals is a high design orientation. This draws on the majestic and prolific beauty of nature. It also relates to much of the truly modern , cutting edge design across  fields that has ended to be anchored in something natural such as linen in clothes, jute in bags, items like ceramics etc…

For understanding the implications of Green marketing it is imperative to understand in terms of Kotler's marketing mix
The four Ps of green marketing

Like conventional marketers, green marketers must address the 'four Ps' in innovative ways.


Entrepreneurs wanting to exploit emerging green markets will either:

  • identify customers' environmental needs and develop products to address these needs; or
  • develop environmentally responsible products to have less impact than competitors.

The increasingly wide variety of products on the market that support sustainable development and are good for the triple bottom line include:

  • Products made from recycled goods, such as Quik'N Tuff housing materials made from recycled broccoli boxes.
  • Products that can be recycled or reused.
  • Efficient products, which save water, energy or gasoline, save money and reduce environmental impact. Queensland's only waterless printer, Printpoint, reduces operating costs by using less water than conventional printers and is able to pass the savings on to customers.
  • Products with environmentally responsible packaging. McDonalds, for example, changed their packaging from polystyrene clamshells to paper.
  • Products with green labels, as long as they offer substantiation.
  • Organic products — many consumers are prepared to pay a premium for organic products, which offer promise of quality. Organic butchers, for example, promote the added qualities such as taste and tenderness.
  • A service that rents or loans products – such as toy libraries.
  • Certified products, which meet or exceed environmentally responsible criteria.

Whatever the product or service, it is vital to ensure that products meet or exceed the quality expectations of customers and are thoroughly tested.


Pricing is a critical element of the marketing mix. Most customers will only be prepared to pay a premium if there is a perception of additional product value.

This value may be improved performance, function, design, visual appeal or taste. Environmental benefits are usually an added bonus but will often be the deciding factor between products of equal value and quality.

Environmentally responsible products, however, are often less expensive when product life cycle costs are taken into consideration. For example fuel-efficient vehicles, water-efficient printing and non-hazardous products.


The choice of where and when to make a product available will have significant impact on the customers you attract.

Very few customers will go out of their way to buy green products merely for the sake of it. Marketers looking to successfully introduce new green products should, in most cases, position them broadly in the market place so they are not just appealing to a small green niche market.

The location must also be consistent with the image you want to project and allow you to project your own image rather than being dominated or compromised by the image of the venue.The location must differentiate you from your competitors. This can be achieved by in-store promotions and visually appealing displays or using recycled materials to emphasise the environmental and other benefits.


Promoting products and services to target markets includes paid advertising, public relations, sales promotions, direct marketing and on-site promotions.

Smart green marketers will be able to reinforce environmental credibility by using sustainable marketing and communications tools and practices. For example, many companies in the financial industry are providing electronic statements by email.

e-marketing is rapidly replacing more traditional marketing methods, and printed materials can be produced using recycled materials and efficient processes, such as waterless printing.

Retailers, for example, are recognizing the value of alliances with other companies, environmental groups and research organizations when promoting their environmental commitment. To reduce the use of plastic bags and promote their green commitment, some retailers sell shopping bags, for example those produced by Landcare Australia, Clean Up Australia and Planet Ark, under the banner of the Go Green Environment Fund.

The key to successful green marketing is credibility. Never overstate environmental claims or establish unrealistic expectations, and communicate simply and through sources that people trust.

Promote your green credentials and achievements. Publicize stories of the company's and employees' green initiatives. Enter environmental awards programs to profile environmental credentials to customers and stakeholders.

Lastly………………….same question How????

To take advantage of the emerging green market, it is important to understand who green consumers are and the factors influencing their purchasing decisions and behaviour.

Attributes of environmentally conscious consumers:

Implications for green marketers:

Will most likely be well-educated, young adult women who have more money to spend.

  • Target products to women who generally buy on behalf of men and families.
  • Use the influence of children to encourage parents to try green products. They are the green consumers of the future and are generally knowledgeable about environmental issues thanks to school and community education programs.
  • Offer samples and incentives to try products.

Will expect green products to function as effectively as non-green products and won't pay much extra or sacrifice quality for greener products.

Effectively communicate assurances of quality – for example quality of performance, look, feel, fit, comfort, durability, etc

Will not buy green products on the basis of environmental benefits alone. Product choice is still based on whether it meets the their basic want or need. Environmental features are added selling points.

Link environmental attributes such as energy efficiency or toxic substance reduction with other benefits such as lower price, convenience or quality of life improvements.

Will be more likely to respond to product attributes that will personally benefit them.

Emphasize personal benefits by using terms such as 'safe', 'non-toxic', 'cost effective' rather than more generalised green messages such as 'biodegradable' or 'ozone friendly'.

Will tolerate only minimal inconvenience in using green products and don't want to have to go out of their way to buy them.

  • Make using the product simple – for example, minimise or eliminate refilling bottles.
  • Select mainstream distributors where possible.
  • Offer one-stop shopping and eye-appealing displays.

Will be analytical, eager to learn, and can be cynical about corporate claims for green product unless they have independent verification

  • Reinforce product benefits with evidence of corporate environmental performance and improvements
  • Educate consumers about environmental issues and your efforts through a variety of means.
  • Provide credible environmental endorsements.
  • Use labels, in compliance with government labelling guidelines, to convey precise, detailed information about your product and its packaging.

Will not expect companies to have perfect green credentials, but will look for a commitment to improve and evidence backed by facts.

  • Communicate your steps towards sustainability and commitment to improvement.
  • Seek feedback and promote your efforts to respond to customer concerns.

Natural products have a potential to be associated with individualism . The only thing required is to pick the right ambassador for them. Not just the usual glamour and fame but blazing individualism, and   self belief to go against the crowd. For example  Angelina Jolie for Khadi. Wouldn't that make the Versace wannabes do a U-Turn?

In sum  naturals may have been discovered in the past, but naturals are new age,bright and potentially iconic if taken out of the dark. Marketers are you  building the (b)right side of naturals?

Ashish Ohlyan
MIB (2005-2007)
IMT, Ghaziabad

Source: E-mail December 4, 2006




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