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Store designer: Think twice about going green


November 4, 2009
By Canadian Pizza

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November 4, 2009, New York, NY – The strategic branding agency CBX says that retailers and foodservice chains should think long and hard before attempting to re-brand themselves as “green.”

In the October issue of the retail design publication DDI, Joseph Bona, president of the retail division of CBX, writes: "The bottom line is simple enough. If you aim to make green a fundamental part of your brand messaging, do not do so until sustainability truly is written into the company's very DNA.”

Bona describes how three companies, Patagonia, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, have taken three different approaches to communicating their green virtues to consumers.

At Patagonia, visitors to the company's website can click on the image of any garment and find information boxes describing the product's ecological upside and downside. They show transparency by admitting that certain chemicals in its garments are bad for the environment.

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At Starbucks, the SharedPlanet web site provides a wealth of information about the company's numerous sustainability initiatives, including the plans to pursue LEED certification in all of the chain's new stores.

Lastly, Dunkin' Donuts' "very low-key" approach to promoting its participation in the fair trade coffee movement "befits its regular-guy image," Bona observed. "Rather than running green-themed ads rife with imagery of smiling indigenous farmers carefully tending coffee trees on Guatemalan hillsides, the chain was careful not to overreach.”

Bona writes, "If your efforts are more modest, make sure your marketing is just as low key. And no matter how green your company might be, communicate those efforts with an honest and straightforward transparency. Doing so can deflect criticism and win respect from today's increasingly eco-savvy shoppers."


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