Friday, May 25, 2007

"Being Green" as a Marketing Tool: is it Enough?

The other week's discussion of Dreamhost's decision to purchase carbon offsets being marketing-driven got me thinking about a recent discussion I had with Mike Harder, one of the founders of Boloco (which, by the way, is doing some really cool things) about the whole idea of marketing oneself as a green company. The question raised: is being green enough of a reason to convince people to use your company? Oddly enough, I don't think so.

Here's the thing: the zen kitchen is a green company with a fairly strong social mission, and I want to work with companies that have similar values and missions, both as a service provider and as a customer. But beyond the values lies another key component which, in fact, actually comes BEFORE the company's mission and values - do I like what the company does? Are they providing a product or service that a) I genuinely need, and b) is good quality?

The same holds true for my clients' expectations of my business; I can be as green as I want and they love me for that, but the main reason clients work with me is because a) I'm a great designer, and b) I get really excited about their business, and they pick up on that. It's that extra level of commitment to their needs that gets me the business - the green thing is just gravy, and helps me weed out the clients that aren't in line with where I see the zen kitchen going.

Mind you, I'm still green, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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