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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Simplifying Has A Lot To Do With Green

Last week on 4/21/09, during a LOHAS event that took place at the GreenDepot -- New York's premier green living and building space at 222 Bowery -- I experienced something profound: simplifying has a lot to do with 'green.'

During "The Eve of Sustainability - Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability Leadership Gathering," I heard many presentations. From Vail Resorts, Ingeo, Haberman, Mohawk Greenworks, Amala, Mini, BBMG and hessnatur. I then had conversations. With Susan Benarcik design and others.

The presentations and conversations had me thinking. About storytelling. About sustainability. About the meaning of green.

Consistently, I heard that consumers crave authenticity and relevance, stories that connect with their lives, and meaningful simplicity so they can truly make decisions that generate a positive difference for their environment. They particularly crave simplicity.

Not too dissimilar from my need to be practical and cut through bling and distractions to get to and focus on what is truly meaningful... to simplify while not wasting precious resources.

Shortly thereafter, while catching up on some reading, I came across articles that referred to this same and very real consumer zeitgeist.

Iconowatch,on April 14, 2009, states "SAY HELLO TO SIMPLICITY." Have you read it? I love the final call to action: "To start, offer the consumer an escape - mentally, emotionally, physically, visually - from the disorder of the economic downturn."

I particularly enjoyed Greg Sieck's post about Brand Relevancy in the Age of Frugality where he directs you to a terrific white paper on the subject. Read it. Here's why.

1. The changes affecting us have to do with "practicality, frugality and the will to survive."

2. Consumers are looking for the simpler life.

3. Brands winning with consumers offer value that resonates with consumers: superior knowledge, remarkable service, memorable experience.

4. "Your presence online ... makes you part of the conversation and accessible to your customers."

[See Faith Popcorn: Attitude Toward Recession for additional insights.]

He recommends five rules to adhere to in the Age of Frugality:
+ Believe in your brand
+ Know your customers and speak to them [tout benefits both rational and emotional]
+ Try something new
+ Focus on value, not simply price
+ Have a strategy for permanent frugality

MediaPost published Earth Day In A New Era on 4/23/09. I enjoyed the description of changing consumer purchase behaviors. It matches what I see and feel taking place around me. Do you see the same?

Especially since BBMG referred to the 2009 BBMG Conscious Consumer Report which explains that "Green is up. Trust is down." Lack of trust doesn't mean disinterest. Rather it indicates a desire to learn more and research more.

Does this help you better understand your customer? Imagine how grateful she will be if we help her streamline the non-value added confusion, focus on what matters, generally simplify the decision-making process, and provide her with meaningful [green] options...

Simplifying sounds better and better to me. Does it to you?

P.S.: Thank you to my friend Jenny Cross from Mohawk who now heads up Greenworks and invited me to attend this marvelous event.

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