Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's Easy Being Green - Packaging Your "Green" Brand

Last week, I wrote about packaging and the environment. Since then I have been flooded with a host of interesting new packaging and product introductions. Surprisingly much of the packaging innovation is coming from outside the U.S. than from our own national companies.

It seems that there is much more going on in environment legislation about packaging in other countries. In fact, at the World Packaging Organization meeting in Beijing last week it was announced that China is working to develop "green packaging" as part of its efforts to build an environment-friendly society. I also have had the opportunity to read some very interesting facts including this tidbit: the world consumes 25 billion pizza boxes annually. So, if your pizza box is "green" you can save the world.

Seriously, it's great to make an announcement and to get the word out about all new packaging innovations, but the real test is integrating your "green" packaging products into your brand.

People are jumping on the environmental band wagon because it’s a hot topic right now. The recent Earth Day activities made people think about things that have to do with the environment. Global warming issues are on the news daily and people are looking for scapegoats as the cause. The packaging industry is often chastised for having unfriendly environmental policies. I'm not here to debate this point, but to talk about using environmental issues in a positive manner.

Let's take the word "green" as an example. Obviously, we think of the color first.
But what about the variations of the definition that relate to packaging? How green is your packaging world?
• Green could mean less damage to the environment;
• Green could be producing packaging from renewable resources;
• Green could be designing products for environmental sustainability;
• Green could be the use of less material and recyclable and degradable materials.
So "green" can be maximized for branding purposes in a host of different ways.

If you have a "green" packaging product what ways are you capitalizing on the current media exposure (in addition to send out a press announcement)? Here are a few points to consider:
• Did you support or promote participation in any Earth Day activities?
• Do you belong to any one of the many organizations that support "green" and the environment?
• Did you orchestrate your new packaging introduction to coincide with Earth Day or other environmental events?
• Have you submitted your green product to the numerous packaging associations’ opportunities for environmental awards?
• Have you submitted your package to any of the non packaging related organizations that have "environmental" awards?
• Do you have a plan in place that your entire staff understands and utilizes to build your "green" brand?
• Do they believe in being "green" (very important)?
• Have you looked at any websites such as (great site with lots about packaging) to see what they are doing?
I just saw this:
“The last day to enter our "Unexpected Green" Contest is quickly approaching - this Friday, May 5th. Just as a quick refresher, we are looking for green items you have found in normally not so green places, big box retailers, mall stores, the Exxon-Mobil gift shop (OK that might be a bit of a stretch). Send your "unexpected green" items to: and tell us that the product is, where you found it, and why you think it was an unexpected find. So, if you want to get your hands on the contest prize, a $350 gift certificate from Earth, be sure to get your entries in pronto to”

Sure it seems a bit far fetched but Treehugger lives in the blogosphere world and we all know how important blogging is to the media. Try a quick GOOGLE search for "green packaging." Yes, there are a few products listed but what is more important is what is not there. A huge area of untapped marketing potential is available for increasing the visibility for your packaging products.

No matter how unusual or "out there" the opportunity seems you cannot under estimate who will see and read about your "green" brand. Let me use a personal experience as an example: I wrote two e-zine issues entitled "Earth Day Battle: Packaging VS the Environment." I received lots of new inquiries from all over the globe with a simple headline.

The branding issue I want you to think about is: (1) Is your "green" packaging product is a flash in the pan? (2) Has there been serious brand integration of the "green" message throughout your company? (3) Are you using your "green" message in all the promotion, literature and media exposure? Remember it’s never too early to plan your "green" branding campaign for Earth Day 07 and to maximize your brand.

For more insights on It's Easy Being Green - Packaging Your "Green" Brand and how to get started contact me via email at or by phone @ 678-594-6872.


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