Sorting Through the Kaleidoscope of Green Consumers

While it seems everyone says they’re interested in going green, the word means widely different things to different people – or sometimes different things to the same person in different situations.

I’m a painter as well as a writer, and it’s always seemed to me there are more shades of green than any other color.  Not only that, but shades of green vary more in their psychological impact than other colors.  Think about how you react to a deep forest green versus olive, grass green, sage, mint or shocking lime.

So when I read the recent blog post by Jane Tabachnick on the incredible diversity of Green consumers, I found myself nodding my head.  She compares them to shades of green paint – an apt description indeed.

“Green” has become such a trendy hot button  it’s hard to put your finger on it.  While it seems everyone says they’re interested in going green, the word means widely different things to different people – or sometimes different things to the same person in different situations.

For example, my hybrid Honda Civic gets 50 miles per gallon.   So when I’m comparing my gas consumption to my friends’  I feel pretty good about it.  But after all, I’m still burning fossil fuel when I drive it.  And if I ever find myself driving when I could have ridden my bike, it really gets the guilt gears grinding in my head.

Same product.  Same consumer.  Different situation = different conclusion.

It all depends on the context. And that’s what copywriters need to be aware of when writing copy for green products.

You’ve got to figure out what shade of green your particular prospect is wearing, and tint your copy to complement it.  If you’re writing to hard core Greenies like myself, be sure you’re not saying something that’ll trip the guilt line in their heads.  Or worse, anything that sets off the humbug alarm.

But for a more mainstream audience just beginning to think green, you’ll want to make sure your product doesn’t come off as too far out.  (Honda knew this back in the early 2000’s when they first came out with their hybrid.  Their tagline was, “You don’t plug it in.”  Kept it within the realm of the known.)

Bottom line:  do your research, and know your prospect!

Anne Michelsen is a freelance writer specializing in helping Green and renewable energy companies enjoy increased attention and greater sales through dynamic sales copy and insightful content.

Subscribe to Anne’s bi-weekly tips and insights into marketing, sales writing and sustainability, and get a complimentary copy of her Green marketing report, Making Sense of the Green Sector: What Every Marketer Should Know About Selling Sustainable Products and Services.