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Gail Nickel-Kailing, managing director of Business Strategies Etc.

Shades of Green

By Gail Nickel-Kailing

About Gail

A business adviser and problem solver, Gail is managing director of Business Strategies Etc., which provides strategic marketing and business planning services and manages the execution of marketing communications tactics that help companies:
• Define their sustainability strategies,
• Deliver a positive, sustainable image,
• Gain credibility, trust and respect, and
• Measure the results of their green initiatives and actions.

Gail is a nationally recognized speaker on a wide range of subjects and brings enthusiasm and a unique blend of experience to the podium. As an industry analyst and journalist contributing to publications in the United States, Canada, India and Brazil, she has covered a number of beats, particularly sustainability in printing and mailing, print on demand, variable data printing and direct mail.

Is Green Still Relevant to Consumers, Businesses?

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This Friday, April 29, I’m interviewing Jacquie Ottman, principal of J. Ottman Consulting, and author of a new book—“The New Rules of Green Marketing.” We’ll be discussing the “New Green Marketing Paradigm,” beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Pacific.

You’re invited to join me. Register here using the password: GMC_ott

So what does this have to do with your business? Remember the trends expressed by your customers—and the customers of your customers—will influence the products you sell and produce.

Green Consumers
It turns out that as confused as it seems American consumers are about “green” products, they are putting their dollars on the line in many parts of the country. Researchers from Amazon—nation’s (world’s?) largest online retailer—have mapped a number of green product segments and labeled zones on a map of the United States as “hot” or “cold” depending on deviation from national averages.

The color scheme—green and orange—is a refreshing change from the blue and red of political maps; though there could be a bit of correlation.

Purchases of water-related products and books on water conservation are the strongest in the Southwest (duh); however, those of us in Seattle are falling short on our purchases of rain barrels, according to hometown Amazon. Could it be because the city sells them to us at a discount?

Daytona Beach has the most purchases of solar panels—plenty of sunny there—and my friends from La Crosse, WI, buy the most books on energy efficiency. Frankly, if you’ve ever lived through a Wisconsin (or Minnesota) winter, you’ll understand why. Those sub-zero winter temperatures can drive your energy costs through the roof!

Nationwide, the Northeast makes the most green purchases for infants and children; it’s all those green parents!

Check out the maps here; so do you live in a green region?

Green Businesses
On the business side of the house, a sequel to the 2006 book, “Green to Gold” (by Dan Esty and Andrew Winston) has been released. Since the publication of the original book, some of the “Top 50 WaveRiders”—companies that were profiled because of financial and environmental success and social responsibility—have stumbled and others have faced new environmental challenges.

It feels odd to see BP listed as the top international “Wave Rider!” The Gulf oil spill two years ago took the company from an environmental hero to villain in one quick step. In our industry, HP, Kodak, Xerox and International Paper all made the top 25 list of “U.S. Wave Riders” in 2006.

That said, the original book outlined some really great green strategies, and the new title—“The Green to Gold Business Playbook” (by Dan Esty and P.J. Simmons)—gets down to tactics. It details how to implement the strategies already described.

Author Esty puts it this way in an interview with Joel Makower of Green Biz:

“One of the things the ‘Playbook’ does is take this whole big area apart and give guidance, business function by business function. And it allows people to not feel like it’s overwhelming, but to dig into whatever piece is in front of them. So, there’s guidance on what to do if you’re in the finance department, or the marketing department, or the buildings department and facilities department. It gives a chance to take issues from high strategy down to a much more on-the-ground and approachable level.”

Getting There
Whether you’re already well down your path to being a sustainable company or just getting started on your journey, these two books are great tools to help you implement the tactics on your list.

And it would be great to have you as part of the audience when Jacquie Ottman gives us her insights on the new green marketing paradigm! Please join us!

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Docucopies - Posted on May 03, 2011
The Gulf oil spill was only one year ago, not two...
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Archived Comments:
Docucopies - Posted on May 03, 2011
The Gulf oil spill was only one year ago, not two...