Customers value environmental causes. Polls from a research survey conducted by Tandberg suggest that 53% of consumers prefer to buy from companies with a reputation for their commitment to the environment. As anyone who manages a business knows, reputation management is one of the most important processes for staying on top of growth and retention.
People enjoy being in nature. For example, weddingswith a lush, verdant backdrop are popular and studies show that access to nature is correlated with reductions in depression and obesity. Creating a reputation that embraces environmental consciousness and protection is a great PR move.
It’s straightforward. Staying committed to a green cause is not only great for the environment, but also great for your business. The only question is how do you actually brand your business as “environmentally friendly” or “ecofriendly” in a way that doesn’t look contrived or conceited. How much do you need to spend and how should you invest your money to make a difference in the perception of your business?
Accounting for Ecofriendly Brand Perceptions
The last thing you want to do is spend money preparing to transition your brand towards an ecofriendly image only to have it backfire on you when your customers don’t buy it. Frequently, business owners try a very direct approach to ecofriendliness by designing products with environmental targets in mind. However, brand perceptions are actually negative for initiatives such as these because the regular consumer sees this as an intentional attempt to manipulate their feelings towards that brand.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. In this way, accounting for ecofriendly brand perceptions at the start of your campaign is a way to control for unexpected costs such as a negative association rather than a positive association of your business’ brand with the environment. It will also help to stabilize and fix your business’ credit.
This counter intuitive attitude to ecofriendly brand perceptions is actually documented in a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, which states that: “…consumers are less likely to purchase a green product when they perceive that the company intentionally made the product better for the environment compared to when the same environmental benefit occurred as an unintended side effect.” How you actually frame your results – which are beneficial to the environment whether or not they are intentional – shifts how customers will interpret them.
So, before your business even gets started on developing and working out the research necessary to actually produce and portray striking, documentable green results, it needs to figure out this key issue of frame. Based on facts, your company will want to frame the environmental benefit in a way that appears accidental rather than as an intentional effort. Also, consulting with a graphics design firm on how best to position and draw attention to your company’s green efforts can help your company refine its image.
For example, you don’t want to mention that your company spent millions in research just to develop a plastic water bottle design that reduced plastic usage by a significant percentage. Instead, your company can frame the effort as part of the campaign to reduce its own costs that have the added benefit of decreasing plastic consumption. This way, the customer is likely to attribute the environmental benefit to your company’s attempts to optimize its spending rather than a direct attempt towards ecofriendly branding.
It is also completely possible for your brand to succeed with a direct strategy, but only if it makes sense in the context of your product and if your company has been environmentally committed since the beginning. A great example of how direct environmental advertising has succeeded can be found in Patagonia, the clothing company, and their mission statement. The Harvard Business Report notes that Patagonia’s controversial campaign strategies that seem to sacrifice its profitability for environmental purposes actually have led to increases in revenue.
Research and Development Costs
Once you’ve figured out how you actually want to market and frame your ecofriendly branding attempt, it’s time to explore the costs of researching and developing products that will make a significant impact on the environment. R&D costs will be highly variable based on the size of your company, the extent of its commitment to environmental initiatives, and the type of product or services it offers.
Taking note from some of the companies with the highest R&D costs in general, a report from Fortune magazine sees industry leaders such as Volkswagen, Intel, and Roche spending anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of their revenue on R&D. Of course, the great variation in R&D costs is a result of how dependent a company’s revenue is on that R&D. For instance, you might expect a pharmaceutical company to have greater R&D costs than an automobile company.
We want to think about environmental branding in a similar way. The cost to brand something as ecofriendly should be considered in comparison to the total revenue that such a product or service produces in the first place. Further, the expected return on investment (ROI) should be calculated as well to produce to best company budgeting plans for ecofriendly branding.
Let’s walk through a concrete example. You’re in charge of dispensing marketing costs for a company to make one of their brands appear more ecofriendly. The first thing you want to do is pull up the revenue that’s generated by that product over time, estimate the costs of R&D, and estimate an expected return on investment.
Our supposed product may bring in $10 million a year. If the costs of R&D were something like $300,000 and the expected return on this branding was $1 million, it would be favorable. This is because we have a relatively low revenue to R&D cost (less than 5 percent) and our expected return on investment is higher than the cost.
Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy
Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.
Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.
Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.
How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:
- They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
- They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
- They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
- They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.
Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.
Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use
The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.
Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.
Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers
Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.
Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.
Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:
- Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
- Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
- Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.
You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.
How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands
Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.
Small waste adds up over time
A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:
- Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
- Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
- Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
- Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.
Going electronic has significant benefits
If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.
Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:
- Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
- Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
- Using financial software to manage your books
- Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
- Arranging digital feedback and review forms
- Making the most of Google Docs
Going green can help you to make money too
Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.
Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.