Greening the brand requires credibility

Just like most claims in support of a brand, there needs to be credibility. And like so many today, those claims aren’t proven.

I guess that’s why they’re called claims, instead facts.

Lately I’ve become aware of the many marketers claiming their product/process/materials to be eco-friendly. But then you read the fine print, or you find there is no fine print. No substantiation. Or weak substantiation.

The research says “Green is good – people would rather buy green products”. So let’s give them what they want. Here’s an example.

I bought a bottle of water today (there was no bubbler in the building!) The maker, Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water Co., a division of Nestlé, boasted their water was contained in an “Eco-Shape Bottle™”. Then there’s a line stating, “Our bottle looks and feels different because it’s purposely designed with an average of 30% less plastic* to be easier on the environment. The asterisk points to this line, Versus comparable size, leading beverage brands.”

I took physics in high school. I remember something about volume. I seem to remember that the surface area of a container might change shape but would be constant for a given volume of liquid. So the only way this bottle could contain 30% less plastic and contain the same volume as other bottles would be that it is a third thinner.

Now this may be the case. But they didn’t say so. They made their explanation laborious. For those who didn’t study and think this through, it’s incredulous. It’s almost laughable. Specially designed to look and feel different and be eco-friendly.

My point: if you have to explain a complicated concept, or if you must just make an unsubstantiated claim, perhaps it’s not in your best interest to promote that feature.

Or just admit you’ve found a way to make flimsier bottle that’ll still do the job, and that we’ll save 30% of our materials cost. Ann yes, it might have a favorable impact on the environment.

By now, you’ve probably guessed I’m after Andy Rooney’s job on 60-Minutes.

Yes, I may be cynical. But again, I want my brand to stand the test of cynics and then be loved by them, in part for my honest and simple presentation of the facts.

Martin Jelsema

One thought on “Greening the brand requires credibility

  1. Good point – why introduce marketing speak for no good reason.

    I wonder if using “best” isn’t the worst offender. Let that be what people say about your brand, not what you say about yourself.

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