New Tricks for Green Marketers to Go Viral

It’s no secret that the Green consumer loves to tell everyone how Green his life is. According to a 2007 Newsweek article, Honda customers left the company in droves, opting instead for the Toyota Prius because the Hondas just “didn’t look Hybrid enough.” (Honda plans to release a new hybrid in 09 — as well as a 62 MPG diesel in 2010 — that “will not be wrapped in the sheet metal of Honda’s everyday cars. Instead, it will have the larva styling the Prius pioneered — which now embodies the green-car look.”)

Now, I love that it’s trendy to boast about small carbon footprints. Given the state of our planet, it’s a great thing for the environment. But, let’s not forget, it’s a great thing for Green marketers too. The more consumers talk about new ways to stay Green, the more likely they’ll be talking about our clients.

Recognizing this trend, a few eco-friendly brands, including Origins, North Face and Honest Foods have launched online platforms that reward consumers for engaging in various Green initiatives. These online communities allow people to submit their own content demonstrating their Greenness. Consumers can share their latest uploads through IM and email as well as by reviewing and rating each other’s activities. Behaviors are rewarded with prizes for “most popular” or “most viral” entries.

Green marketers should consider employing a platform like this. Not only is it a great way to engage consumers, but the nature of these platforms is to drive viral reach. The company behind this technology is Brickfish, a social media platform that “taps into the power of consumer driven marketing … providing brands and agencies with a single source solution to leverage the power of social media sites and user-generated content for truly effective online marketing efforts that drive awareness, analytics and action.”

What gives Brickfish a leg up on other social media platforms (for the moment) is the reporting. The company provides a visualization of each viral campaign enabling marketers to understand how content is shared between users. And, they claim their “approach has proven to be 5 to 10 times more effective than traditional online marketing methods such as display ads or search optimization.”

Now, as is true with anything Internet – early adopters like Origins, North Face and Honest Foods will have a greater chance of capturing market share. As more and more brands develop their own viral/user-gen-content platforms, the idea will lose impact and, let’s face it, there are only so many same-sites people want to visit. Either way, Green products lend themselves perfectly to viral marketing and kudos to Origins, North Face and Honest Foods for embarking on a solid approach.

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