The Art of Green

The Art of Green

There is a relatively new art form taking root, it’s called the art of green.  Webster says, “Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination”  Going green definitely challenges us to use our imagination.

People ask, “what is green marketing and how can it help”.  In it’s simplest terms it is teaching others to do more with less.  We can argue over climate change and the other 16 ways the world will eminently collapse or we can just keep it simple and focus on the things people can do now that will help themselves and the future generations.

Famous quote from the movie Wall Street, Michael Douglas’s character said, Greed is good.  Gasp, breath deep, exhale and get over it.  People actually care about things that are important in their daily lives. Back in college I  studied this guy named Maslow, he created this hiearchy of human needs.  If you want to motivate people it’s a pretty good thing to keep in mind.  There are 5 levels included in this hierarchy:

  1. Physiological: Air, water, food, sex, survival…
  2. Safety: Security of self, family, employment…
  3. Love/Belonging: Friendship, family, sexuality…
  4. Esteem: Self= esteem, confidence, achievement, respect…
  5. Self Actualization: morality, creativity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, etc.

So here is the thing,  if you think you can get someone to do something because it is the right thing to do (5th level) and simultaneously ask them to give up something on the first level,  you are in for a giant dose of reality, 99.999 % of the time it’s not going to happen.

Do well by doing good…ahhhh now we have something, we can build traction!  If we can teach people to do well by doing good, we are reaching them on all 5 levels.  Here are a few personal examples.  I decided to build zero energy homes back in 2004, pretty cool, I shipped a 1400 sf house to Germany with double wall construction.  I  then developed a plan for a green living expo.  NBC, gave me 6 months of advertising for free on their going green segment, not because they were altruistic, because they thought the story would increase ratings.  My phone rang off the hook and the business grew, in 2007 I had 1.3 billion in development deals on my desk. All because the buildings were highly profitable and cost less per sf than their non efficient counter parts.  I was able to increase the size of the projects beyond what people would dream of for similar sites by integrating green technologies.  When investors could make money and do the right thing they got excited and came running.  When the market crashed and values dropped through the floor, investors ran.  I then created a hydrogen system that increased the gas mileage in a 72′ Mustang by 58%, investors got excited again, until the men in black suggested things would go badly for anyone developing  a car that ran completely on water.  The concept is the same for any green widget.

The point is, if you think people will go green and pay more to do it,  you are making a costly mistake and selling yourself short.

“Understanding greed is good.” – Steve Schappert Greed is human nature, and you are not going to change it, people do things because it makes them feel better, the sooner you grasp the concept and apply it, the sooner your sales will increase. You can sell a few green widgets by charging more, but if you want to create a sustainable business that pays your way in the world, covers your retirement and sends your grand kids to college, then you better have a plan b. A plan that offers a better product for the same or less than the competition.  One exception is adding financing to the mix, but you better have a good salesperson and a marketing dept. that can educate the masses.

People want to know the bottom line, how will it affect me on a daily basis?  If your product will pay for itself over time,  don’t ever try and sell it based on the fact that it will pay for itself over time. You are asking people to wait and NOBODY cares!  I exaggerate to make a point, some will buy, usually enough to delude you into thinking you have a profitable model.  Add the financing and sell the fact that their daily, weekly, yearly expenses will go down immediately.  Buy this today and you will have more cash next month, that is a winning headline!

Examine your product over the entire life time,  find ways to make it more affordable, find ways to lower your operating costs while increasing product quality and desirability.   Think SUSTAINABILITY,  do good things that help people and understand that we live in a global economy.  If you are not constantly improving your product and your overall business process, your competition will do it for you, but they won’t share with you or say thank you.  Your trials and success stories will become the fabric of your marketing message. Do good things, more people will like you, recommend you, and your business will bloom.

The Art of Green is Striking the Balance of Sustainability & Profitability.  You don’t have to hug a tree, go green, save the world, but every business that wants to survive, has to learn to use less resources to deliver their product or service, because it is  a matter of survival and that is on the top of everyone’s list.

Hope that helps, be good!

Steve Schappert

 

 

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