Thursday, May 8, 2008

Blue Green?

In the May 5th issue of AdAge, Adam Werbach wants to shift focus to a new BLUE movement to embrace more consumer comfort and eradicate the growing consumer green fatigue:
"Blue is a platform for sustainability that goes beyond the deep, beautiful green of environmentalism. Green puts the planet at the center of the dialogue; blue puts people -- consumers and shoppers -- at the center."

This is a head-spinning topic, and while Werbach makes some worthy points, I hope the dialog doesn't obfuscate the objectives:
In other words...We've gotta get going here!

One article commenter makes a good point:
"If fatigue is prevalent among some circles, it's because we have yet to offer the consumer clarity. Throwing in new terms or words such as "blue" doesn't help move us closer to a common understanding. I would hesitate to guess the average person wouldn't have any idea what "blue" means."

The heads of Corporate Social Responsibility from Discovery, Amex and Price Waterhouse Cooper spoke at a terrific panel discussion from the IABC last week. But the first part of the panel had to do with what the heck we should be calling CSR: Corporate Citizenship? Corporate Philanthropy? Cause Branding? I know that clear communication is key to getting the message out there...and we'd like to be able to have a phrase that we can all refer to for common ground. Like, say, "Green." It's just easier, even if, say, "Green" is a subset of social responsibility.

(FYI: If you are practicing social responsibility as a company, you're most likely going to INCLUDE "sustainable" actions, like not polluting and using up virgin forests for your paper needs. BUT social responsibility ALSO means you're looking out for your workers and being a good corporate citizen by doing things like supporting the local library or whathaveyou. So "green" is a subset -- a PART of doing good overall. If you want more, contact me and I'll share some pages from my eco-education deck.)

Back to my point, since I let the words get in my way: I worry that debating the phrasing too much can get in the way of action. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" As a marketer, I'm all about proper positioning to get a clear and effective message out there.

But, to borrow from that company with a swoosh, let's "Just Do It" already!