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Archive for the ‘green communications’ Category

Grammar of Green Communications: Conversation Tip – Know Your Audience

by Nancy Rogers on May 20th, 2011

We take for granted that our modern business world operates 24/7. Personal and work-related calls intersect on cell phones along with texts, tweets, emails and more.

While caller ID can be a life saver, we occasionally ignore technology only to receive a gentle reproach from friends or family expecting a more personal greeting. This predictable exchange is a reminder of a basic tenet of all communications and especially green conversations—know your audience.

Most of you reading this post spend a portion of each day reading updates and exchanging ideas around environmental, social and economic issues. It can be a shock to realize that we have co-workers and neighbors who have never heard the phrase Triple Bottom Line or greenwashing. Seriously, and they are not hermits.

Although it seems elementary, remember talking above or down to your audience will not serve your message or produce the desired call to action. The value of your knowledge and expertise is multiplied when you have the capacity to share information effectively. Even within the green community, designers have concerns that vary from facility managers. A healthcare industry group may offer questions on a different path from hospitality or higher education.

If you want to motivate or educate your readers, listeners, family, friends or followers, here are five tips for green communicators:

  • Convey points in a manner that has value for the audience. What do they expect from you?
  • Offer facts that they can use in a way that they will remember. When appropriate, use humor and personal experiences. For example, what was the first item you recycled?
  • Determine in advance whether the conversation will operate in the same or similar shades of green. Where is your audience on the path to sustainability? The metrics may be determined by passion, experience or shared goals. What is the key take-away and have you presented it effectively?
  • Use simple clean language to reduce confusion. We all use jargon. If in doubt, test your draft for a fresh perspective. Recognize that their baseline may be misinformation.
  • Be authentic and transparent.

Do you have green communication examples that would end tree planting on the low end or create a forest on the high end? Please share.

First posted on

When It Pays to Spend on Trade Shows – BusinessWeek

by Lisa Lilienthal on May 3rd, 2011

Networking, product launches, expert positioning, competitive analysis — all are great reasons to think about attending a trade show.  But when does it pay to exhibit?  Here’s a great piece from BusinessWeek Small Biz.  The ideas really apply to any size company.

CONNECT, the event management tool from Green Earth PR Network, provides a great overview of the sustainability and green business space, and is an intuitive and easy-to-use tool that helps you evaluate and develop your trade show/event calendar.  We’re offering a one-year subscription for $595.  Contact us for an online demo!

From the article, “Although webinars and virtual online trade shows have become popular in recent years, and serve a marketing purpose, they are not replacements for face-to-face events … “

When It Pays to Spend on Trade Shows – BusinessWeek.

Sales of ‘Green’ Household Products Fall as Consumers Cut Spending –

by Lisa Lilienthal on May 3rd, 2011

This April story from New York Times talks about ‘green fatigue,’ particularly in the relatively higher priced category of household cleaners.  The conclusion seems to be that consumer won’t pay more for green products during a recession, but I suspect it is a little more complicated.  Speaking purely as a consumer, I’m more brand loyal to companies that have sustainability in their DNA – like Method, Mrs. Meyer’s, and Seventh Generation — to me, those products perform better and are more in line with my family’s lifestyle. What do you think?

Sales of ‘Green’ Household Products Fall as Consumers Cut Spending –

Sustainability 2.0: Current Trends at the Confluence of Social Media and CSR | Sustainable Life Media

by Lisa Lilienthal on May 3rd, 2011

The Sustainable Brands 2011 conference is just around the corner, and this new report on social media and CSR is a great primer for the dynamic conversation that is sure to be found at this annual gathering of some of the best minds in the business.

From the article:  ” … this intersection of social media and sustainability is a right-of-passage for companies seeking Authenticity, a momentum-changing force for companies in today’s economy. The rewards for companies that manage authentic communications are enormous. Authenticity not only allows companies to more effectively manage their external reputations and brand perceptions, but it encourages greater employee engagement and improved recruitment opportunities. And the most authentic companies are able to open up new market opportunities because they avoid being defined by market perceptions.”

Sustainability 2.0: Current Trends at the Confluence of Social Media and CSR | Sustainable Life Media.

Global Green Marketing Market to Reach $3.5 Trillion by 2017, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

by Lisa Lilienthal on May 3rd, 2011

This is an interesting report on the size and scope of “green marketing” activities, which contradicts some of the ‘green fatigue’ press we’ve seen lately.  Are your clients putting more or less of their budgets towards ‘green’ marketing, or as is the case with mine, is ‘green’ implicit in everything they do?

Global Green Marketing Market to Reach $3.5 Trillion by 2017, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc..

Grammar of Green™ Communications: The Right Words for Your Champions

by Nancy Rogers on April 7th, 2011

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”Mark Twain

Precise and consistent language is critical for effective communications. A significant challenge within the green and seeking to be green community is creating a compelling message that differentiates products, services and practices from the competition.

In developing a message for external audiences, internal stakeholders are often forgotten. Whether your workforce is ten or tens of thousands, experiences and attitudes are being shared with formal and informal networks. With the right words, these individuals have the tools to become authentic champions on green issues. A recent study of workplace values found that American workers seek employment (63 percent) and value (71 percent) a commitment to the environment. Harris Interactive National Quorum conducted the survey on behalf of Interface, Inc.

Without the right words, they may stumble. In creating your messages, the Grammar of Green is a four point checklist to vet statements for: clarity, credibility, consistency and compliance. These principles are helpful guides to maintain and build your reputation using triple bottom line values.

  • Clarity. Vague references, unsubstantiated claims and statements muddled by unnecessary explanation will not advance your message. The more you say, the less you convey. A notice on my bulletin board reminds me that memorable quotes are short and now tweetable, while federal regulations on the sale of cabbage at 26,911words are not. Is the message one that the entire workforce can easily share?
  • Credibility. Boasts of green features and behaviors hold no sway without substantiation. Words must match actions. Transparency backed by third-party certification, actions and measured success enhance your reputation. Authentic accomplishment deserves recognition. Is the message one that the workforce believes and can deliver with confidence?
  • Consistency. Repetition should strengthen your point and make it memorable. If your internal stakeholders use words from the same songbook, you will have a powerful and authentic chorus. Can you say iPhone without revolutionary?
  • Compliance. Avoid misrepresentation and deception that draw regulatory red flags and backlash. Industry jargon and gigabytes of information will not shield you from regulators or independent watchdogs.
What are your favorite examples of organizations that enable workforce evangelists as champions? 

Go ahead, print this email

by Lisa Lilienthal on March 25th, 2011

One of the best things about my job is the chance that I have to see how real change-agents think. It’s my observation that sometimes it is as simple as turning an idea on its head — thinking the opposite of the status quo. That’s true for Interface founder and chairman Ray Anderson who, when his financial people told him back in 1999 that solar power “didn’t pencil”, said, “Have you thought about the potential market for solar-made carpet?” With that one sentence, he transformed thinking, the solar array was installed, and later that year, the California-based Interface subsidiary got a huge order — based on the solar — that paid for the entire investment.

I thought about that Ray story today when I was copied on an email from Rolling Stones keyboardist/passionate environmentalist/tree farmer Chuck Leavell. At the bottom, below his signature, where many people wave the green flag with a little note that says, “think before you print this email,” was this statement:

Notice: It’s OK to print this e-mail. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of Americans, and working forests are good for the environment, providing clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Thanks to improved forest management, we have more trees in America today than we had 100 years ago.

Once again, a big thinker who has turned an idea on its head.

Chuck has a new book out this week, “Growing a Better America.” He says it is all about smart growth, and as you can imagine, he has some real street cred when it comes to that idea.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go print out some emails ….

ProfNet Connect Chat with writer Gina Roberts-Grey

by Lisa Lilienthal on March 24th, 2011

Freelance writers and publicists are two often sides of the same coin — but we don’t always speak the same language.  This looks like a great opportunity to understand more about how a prolific freelancer works, and as a bonus, it gives us a chance to practice our Twitter Chat skills — I admit to finding it an awkward way to converse.  More on the #ConnectChat hosted by ProfNet can be found here:

ProfNet Connect > Maria Perez > Blog.

Don’t Mess With Mom Bloggers…Or Else! | She Posts

by Lisa Lilienthal on March 22nd, 2011

Don’t Mess With Mom Bloggers…Or Else! | She Posts.

This is a seriously cautionary tale about how a social media campaign can implode your company.  We often complain about lawyers and fine print, but this is an example of where both of those would have been good to have on board from the beginning.

According to Harvard Biz Review, Green Earth PR Network has it all!

by Lisa Lilienthal on March 9th, 2011

These authors contend that you need operational, developmental and strategic networks — exactly what we spoke about (in different terms) at our retreat this week! Depending on how and when we rely upon and use one another strategically, we are potentially all three to one another.

The Three Networks You Need – Linda Hill & Kent Lineback – Harvard Business Review.