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Which Strategy is Better: Promoting Green Marketing to the Masses- or Growing Your Tribe Slowly?

May 24th, 2013 No comments

Tips on How to Expand Your Green Marketing Campaign to Reach More Customers

increasing sales though green marketing ideas

By Robert Piller

Austin, TX: Growing your base is at the core of every company- green or not.

For green marketing organizations, the big decision is how to best grow your market without alienating your core tribe – while growing at the expense of no-green companies.

The first thing to do for green marketing success is to define your core audience- or your tribe.  

What is their composition – in terms of age, sex, income, geographic area, political and religious affiliations, etc.?

Define them down to the most minute details.

Now picture this “idealized” customer and give him or her a name.

Look in magazines and try to cut out a picture of this idealized person and post it near your computer screen so you are conscious of this person in all of your branding.

If you cannot define your core customer, you will have difficulty with all your marketing strategies.

Next, think about who this ideal group of customers would mix or socialize with in order to spread your message.

Green marketing needs to spread through education and awareness..and tribe to tribe.

How are you helping your core audience spread the message?

What type of events are you hosting that might get these two groups to come together?

These should be both online and off-line events.

Let this next stage develop gradually – until your core gets bigger.

Then, repeat..and repeat..and repeat.

Don’t force your green marketing message on anyone.  

Let them find you..but make it easy for them to find you or your tribe.

Don’t waste your green marketing message on a group that is not yet ready to embrace it or are non-believers in climate change.

They may eventually buy green products if they are mandated or can save them money on energy usage–but its not the target market you will want to focus any significant amount of time or budget on.

Preaching to the audience is not a bad thing– as repetition of message help to reinforce green thinking, help to uncover new facts and new ideas and give you a chance to strategize.

Keep your marketing message targeted and focused.

Remind.

Educate.

Reinforce.

And help spread your green marketing message one customer at a time.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 29 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of recycled and reusable water bottles and imprinted coffee mugs, reusable and organic tote bags, recycled pens and pencils in the country. In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree and BASI degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

Eco Marketing Solutions has a strong Code of Conduct as they carefully vet and qualify all their suppliers.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

 


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How Do You Define Corporate Social Responsibility?

February 13th, 2013 No comments

To Practice Corporate Social responsibility, First You Need to Define It

corporate social responsibilty

Defining Corporate Social Responsibility

Austin, Texas: I hear the term CSR and “corporate social responsibility” tossed around a great deal by the media as well as many large clients.

Some organizations truly pracvtice this goal– as they carefully vet their entire supply chain for standard work wages, energy-efficient shipping methods and production, and an eye toward a cleaner planet.

Others like to use the term as a buzzword, much like “managing by walking around”, “brainstorming”, “incent”, “downsizing” and other words that tend to camouflage the real definition.

A recent article in GreenBiz.com discusses the meaning of corporate social responsibility.

They chose their three favorite definitions for that term:

The first is contained in the Brundtland Commission’s report “Our Common Future,” from the first Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which defined “sustainable development” as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

I like that definition because it is simple, to the point and paints a vivid picture of a world that replenishes and nurtures what it uses for eternity.

A second definition is provided by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index: “Corporate sustainability is a business approach that creates long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments.

This definition tends to focus more on the corporate side of CSR – but does not truly get to the heart of a reduction in the use of natural resources.  It focuses too heavily on managing the risks from these developments. And, judging from prior experience, with the focus on short-term gains vs. long-term vision, poses a scary and cavalier attitude toward true corporate social responsibility.

The article then cites  their “favorite definition, which I think captures the spirit of both of these reference points — covering the breadth of CSR without overstating the role of business vis-à-vis other societal actors. I cite again Cramer and Karabell in “Sustainable Excellence”:

“A sustainable business is one that delivers value for investors, customers, and employees; improves the living standards of its employees and the communities it touches; makes wise use of natural resources; and treats people fairly.”

I think this definition is by far the best– because it incorporates business goals of growth and value with the treatment of people in the supply chain and the judicious use of natural resources.

Natural resources cannot all be replenished.  But they can be re-used, recycled and products can be designed to minimize their waste.

Let’s hope that the next time a CEO goes on televison and talks about corporate social responsibility, he means this third definition.

Anything less is doble-speak to mean the complete opposite of its true definition.

How do you define corporate social responsibility?

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 28 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of recycled and reusable water bottles and imprinted coffee mugs, reusable and organic tote bags, recycled pens and pencils in the country. In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

 


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Starbucks Will Roll Out a Refillable Coffee Mug for $1. Are You Willing to Support Other Restaurants That Do The Same?

January 3rd, 2013 No comments

Imprinted coffee mugs and tumblers can promote your restaurant or store

Support Businesses That Offer Refillable Coffee Mugs and Water Bottles

Austin, Texas: As I had mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, Concord, Massachusetts became the first city in the US to ban small bottled water containers in an effort to reduce waste and encourage the use of reusable water bottles.

Today it was noted that Starbucks will begin to offer a reusable plastic coffee tumbler for $1 as a way of reducing its use of single use coffee cups.

In fact, they are planning to offer a discount of up to a dime to customers that bring in their cup to help remind and reward their usage.

Offering imprinted tumblers and imprinted sports bottles makes economic sense – both from a fiscal point of view–as well as from an environmental view.

A 2012 ASI industry study shows that 87% of recipients of an imprinted promotional item (like a tumbler, mug or water bottle) recall the advertiser on the drinkware.

And 47% have a more favorable view of the advertising company after receiving the item.

The study also shows that the average imprinted tumbler or bottle are kept for 7.1 months–giving your brand and message great visibility for a very low cost.

On the environmental side, it has been reported that North Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour — that’s 60 million plastic bottles per day–21.9 billion bottles per year!

And that is to say nothing of Styrofoam and paper mugs and cups.

Can you imagine the impact we would have if every restaurant, snack shop, coffee shop, donut  stand, etc. sold or gave away refillable and reusable bottles and tumblers to replace these single use containers?!

Let’s start to make an impact.

If you are a consumer, bring your refillable and reusable cup (with any brand or logo on it) to your favorite eatery and tell them to fill up.  And while there, ask them why they do not offer refillable cups of their own.

If you are a business or restaurateur–what are you waiting for?

Order imprinted coffee tumblers, coffee mugs or water bottles today.  (We can help you with that – if you don’t already have a trusted source of environmentally-friendly promotional items–FYI.)

Get started right away.

No more single use containers.

Tell your friends.

Tell your favorite shop owners.

No more tossing out 21.9 billion bottles a year.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today!

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 28 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of recycled and reusable water bottles and imprinted coffee mugs, reusable and organic tote bags, recycled pens and pencils in the country. In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.
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Is Obama’s All of the Above Energy Strategy the Best Course for America?

March 26th, 2012 No comments

exploring US energy policy and strategy for the coming decadesAustin, Texas:  Last week, President Obama announced an “all of the above” energy strategy, which would include more drilling, a new look at the Keystone XL pipeline project, as well as alternative forms of energy.

Although energy has become politicized over the past few decades, I think a realistic approach like this is the only true way to make progress.

Life is all about compromise, and if we can increase drilling in a safe manner, improve fracking technology, reduce risk of nuclear accidents, then the “all of the above” strategy is ideal.  But safety must come first.

We need to quit blocking projects just to please one party and start looking at the various options with a more open mind.

America will not stop using oil for many decades, so we must consider drilling in addition to solar, biofuels, wind power, nuclear, natural gas and other options.

Let’s challenge our country’s brightest minds to find ways to increase output of all these energy forms, while reducing costs and increasing safety.

Let’s not pick winners and losers.  Let’s hope that they can all succeed.

After all, today, railroads and ships still compete with airlines and trucks for commercial freight business. It doesn’t have to be a winner take all.

All of the above? I think it makes the most sense.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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The Importance of Water Conservation in the Coming Decade

March 14th, 2012 No comments

Austin, Texas I saw T. Boone Pickens speak a few years back on the importance of water as a natural and national treasure and his concern for its growing scarcity. In Austin, Texas, for example, our lakes are down about 20 feet from their typical depths due to severe droughts over the past few years.

When it comes to thinking about water, there is often some confusion between renewable and unlimited resources.

Water is a renewable necessity, yet humans treat it as an unlimited resource, which it is not.

People use excessive amounts of water every single day, making it difficult for water to replenish itself at the rate that we use it. Although 70% of earth’s surface is water, 97% of that is salt water. Only 3% is fresh water.

A company called elocal, shared with me this accompanying image and facts.

discussion of water as a national resource and treasure

Between doing dishes, washing clothes and watering our grass, thousands of gallons of water is wasted each year. For example, one household in the U.S. uses 127,000 gallons of water per year.

However, if a family used low-flow fixtures on the faucets, washing machine, shower head and toilet, a household could save 40,000 gallons of water per year. If every home also adopted these same fixtures, we could save 2 trillion gallons of water, worth over $4 billion dollars! As the population continues to grow, we need to think smart and start conserving now before it is too late. We encourage you to start the change in your community.

Think before wasting water.  Encourage your family and friends to use it wisely.

Water is not an unlimited resource.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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Continuing the Green Dialog on Facebook & Twitter

March 4th, 2012 No comments

 

discussing green marketing issues through social mediaAustin, Texas: I’ve been blogging about green issues and green marketing for nearly four years and the dialog and discussions I have received have been invaluable.  I seem to “get” more thaan I “give” — that is the power of social media.

I encourage all my followers to start their own blogs  — or at least continue to reply to my blog postings and to keep informed of green issues.

With Earth Day less than 2 months away, I look forward to increased conversations on eco marketing issues and how to best promote environmental outreach.

To open up more channels, I encourage everyone to also keep up with me on Twitter and on Facebook.

I welcome ideas, thoughts and comments from my Twitter account, which you can get to here.

Like me on Facebook so we can also have a dialog on that platform.

Thank you for continuing to read my blog posts over the years — and I look forward to continuing to reach you on this blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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Can Direct Mail Survive For Green Marketers?

February 10th, 2012 No comments

Five Ideas to Consider to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint While Doing Direct Mail

Austin, Texas: As a marketing person who promotes environmental causes and education and is also aware of our role in corporate social responsibility, can we utilize direct mail in our marketing mix?

I was doing a self-promotion piece for our company when this quandary came up.

We are totally against “junk mail” — which in our definition is any unsolicited mail that has a high probability of ending up in the trash/landfill.

Therefore, we reduced our print catalog to a digital catalog with page-flip technology several years ago, as I had mentioned in a previous blog post.  This has saved thousands of trees from being destroyed and prevented countless thousand of catalogs from ending up in a landfill.

Sure, we give out bamboo USB drives to our better clients with this digital catalog burned onto it. But this is too expensive for direct mail.

In the end, after much deliberation, we decided to send out a series of three 4″ x 6.25″ postcards made from recycled paper to our top 2,500 clients, one every three weeks, the first one shown to promote a new website.

ideas to reduce direct mail's impactWe looked at FSC-certified postcards, but decided to use recycled materials, as no new trees had to be destroyed for this marketing effort.

In addition, we are giving away 1,000 live tree seedlings to a non–profit organization for Earth Day, to help offset the carbon footprint of this campaign.

As a green marketer, it is important to consider your entire carbon footprint  – but also to understand that we must continue to build our businesses in order to succeed and grow.

Growth and profits should not be dirty words in the green community.

Good stewardship is crucial– and there is a fine balancing act that must be done to on a continuous basis in order to be true to your core values.

Before doing your next marketing campaign, consider its impact on the environment.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1) Can you reduce the size of your print catalog?

2) Are you using recycled or FSC-certified paper?

3) Are you mailing only to a select group of pre-screened customers and prospects — or are you using the shotgun method, where a majority of your pieces will end up unread in the trash?

4) Can you use a postcard mailer instead of a full print catalog?   You might even be able to use this postcard to have recipients scan a QR code or go online to request your full catalog.

5) Are you using lumpy mail?  Lumpy mail is a direct mail piece that is packaged with a promotional product or sample that makes the package feel like there is something inside of it, which often increases open rates.  If so, is the promotional item made from recycled materials and is the packaging recycled and/or easily recyclable?

Don’t stop promoting your business.  But do consider all alternatives before embarking on your next campaign.

Otherwise, your direct mail pieces will be viewed as poorly as the unused phone books that are tossed on your front door step each year.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today.

PS Please share with me how you have reduced your direct mail and the impact it has made on your bottom line.

Ask Us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.
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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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Green Marketing: Time to Look Back and Plan for the New Year

December 27th, 2011 No comments

Eco Marketing: How will you be going green in 2012?Austin, Texas: As the year comes to a close, it is time to take a look back at your marketing efforts to see if you met your green marketing goals.

As an eco-marketing company, you must be at the forefront of green technology,  waste reduction, recycling and other green initiatives.

Take a look back to see if you can pinpoint measurable reductions in paper usage, miles driven by you and your fellow employees, energy reductions in running your business, supply chain mandates, etc.

Talk to your employees about other areas where you can achieve energy savings, whether it be as simple as thermostat changes and weatherization or more profound and deeper changes.

As the new year approaches, take time to see where you can lead on environmental causes, promote green outreach programs and motivate and inspire your employees, your customers, your vendors and the general public.

Look over your marketing materials to see how you can educate your audience both on the value of your greener product or service, but also on environmental issues in general.

Be sure to practice what you preach in terms of using recycled paper for print, as well as using recycled promotional products to carry your branded message.

Going green cannot be a one-person plan. Be sure your employees are actively behind your green initiatives and agenda.

Did you reach the goal of 10% energy reduction in 2011?

If not, let’s double down and make it happen in 2012.

If so, can you achieve 11% reduction this year?

Keep striving for a greener planet.

We’re all in it together.

Happy New Year!

May 2012 be the greenest one yet.


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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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Changing Green Behavior: One Person at a Time

November 30th, 2011 No comments

the importance of education is critical for the green movememntAustin, Texas: Noted author Seth Godin wrote a blog post today talking about how a movement actually happens one person at a time.

He says, “Products and services succeed one person at a time, as the word slowly spreads. Customers defect one person at a time, as hearts are broken and people are disappointed. Doors open, sure, but not all at once. One at a time.”

Too many people view the green movement as a whole, as an entity, without thinking about how people come to join the movement — one at a time. Or how they leave a movement.

The key to a greener planet is education and outreach.

As young children are taught more about the hazards of climate change and understand how decisions they make can impact their carbon footprint, they will tell others. And lead by example.

Other students will catch on, as will some of their parents and grandparents.

After time, the movement snowballs – as it gains momentum.

Resistance will fade over time, just as other movements, such as Civil Rights, Women’s Suffrage, etc. have ceased to be the major wedge issues in this country.

But always remember, to promote the Green Movement, one needs to practice outreach and education.

One person at a time.

As Seth Godin says, “One at a time is a little anticlimactic … but one at a time is how we win and how we lose.”

Are you continually practicing green outreach?
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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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Are You Hiring Employees that Align With Your Green Corporate Agenda or Culture?

October 13th, 2011 No comments

Green corporate brandingAustin, Texas:  Companies of all sizes are talking about corporate culture these days.

But are your employees all on the same track? If not, how can they positively shape your brand?

As more and more companies open up their social media to all employees, it is imperative that each employee buys into your agenda, so that your corporate culture can be expressed freely, but with a clear understanding.

For green businesses and organizations that are going green, it is crucial that when hiring, you seek employees that understand and appreciate the green movement, and understand global warming, sustainability and how mankind impacts these issues.

Ask questions to uncover their thoughts on these important green issues.

What are their thoughts on global warming?

See what kind of car they drive.

Discuss your corporate culture and be sure the buy into it.

A company is only as good as their weakest link.

Without complete buy-in, this employee might engage with customers online, in person, at a trade show or on the phone or with peers — and their message may not be in sync with your own.

Each employee must truly understand and believe in your green mission in order to spread your culture.

Take time before hiring your next employee.  Instill in them your green mission, your corporate goals — and make sure they are in alignment.

This is true from everyone from the shipping clerk to your bookkeeper, and everyone in between.

Corporate culture shapes brand culture.

Keep training and instilling your green mission and culture into your employees. Brand it into your employees as much, if not more, than you brand it to your customers.

A green corporate culture must be nurtured.  It cannot be a one time event, or mentioned and promoted only for your annual Earth Day celebration.

It must be a part of how your company does business. It must be a part of your company’s footprint and brand identity.

And it must be part of your employees personal beliefs.

Shape those already on board for buy-in.

And make sure all new hires understand and agree with your corporate green mission and stance on sustainability and environmental agenda.

I am all for diversity in a workforce.  Political parties, race, religion, age — variety is the spice of life and it is good to have a broad mix.

But if your employees do not believe in your green agenda, they can unintentionally subvert your mission and show your company in a poor light during customer interactions.

What kind of questions are you asking your new hires to make sure they want to be a part of your green business?

Please share them with me.  I’d like to know.

Ask Us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.
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Robert Piller, president of Eco Marketing Solutions, is experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter