Leveraging Trends in Green Marketing for a Healthier & More Sustainable Brand

pres-green-marketingEconomic hardship is changing consumer priorities. The leveling of growth in environmental purchases has become apparent. Consumers have also cast a more critical eye on green marketing, with 75% of consumers believing that some portion of the industry is “green-washing” their appearance. View the presentation.

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Public Relations Tactics in a Down Economy

In addition to the dramatic changes we are seeing in the mainstream media environment with social media and interactive, the public relations business is evolving as well to reflect the economic circumstances we find ourselves working in.  Consider these tips to improve your PR efforts and response in these troubled times:

  • Take advantage of lower travel, airtime and vendor costs for outside services like matte stories, sponsorships, etc.
  • With advertising activity in the toilet, there is less media clutter and greater opportunities for visibility.
  • History shows that companies that spend on PR now when others are not, will emerge stronger following the recession. Stay in the game.
  • Shift dollars into social media strategies; social media is more affordable, targeted and offers opportunities for increased creativity.
  • Many editors are being laid off, and those who survive consolidation are now wearing more “hats”. Pre-packaged stories that require less effort are appealing to them.
  • Blogs are growing in sophistication and audience. Increase your outreach to this growing medium. Their viewers are loyal and invested in the content on these sites.
  • Offer media “exclusives” whenever possible. With online news at its peak, traditional outlets are looking for a scoop wherever possible to demonstrate their relevance to a scattered audience.

There is a silver lining in every dark cloud, and there are opportunities to be had, even in this challenging marketplace.

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What Does Your Logo Say About You?

More than any single piece of marketing communication you send out into the marketplace, the one most frequently seen is definitely your corporate or brand logo. Have you ever given serious thought to what it says about your company, your philosophy, your people and your attitude?

Maybe its time to give that some deeper consideration. A recent New York Times article cites a new breed of logo emerging in this troubled economic environment we live in. It’s a warmer, fuzzier, more accessible and friendly looking logo. Non-threatening, reassuring, even playful. As the article puts it, “not emblems of distant behemoths, but faces of friends.”

Experts say that logos are becoming less official looking and more conversational. They are not yelling; they’re inviting. They’re more neighborly.

If this is true, then the reasons are obvious. In this era of Wall Street greed and big company insensitivity to the plight of everyman, we all need someone to hate or blame. Big multi-nationals fit the bill just fine. Bigger has become badder, not better. So there may be an advantage to looking smaller and more approachable, right? Plus, we live in an environment of increased transparency, and the Internet allows us a previously unavailable view of the workings and corporate citizenship achievements or infractions of companies both large and small.

So specifically what constitutes a “warmer, friendlier” logo? Less intrusive typefaces. More lower case treatments. Increased use of softer more subtle graphic elements and “happier” colors. Wal-Mart’s new logo is a good example. Less harsh and military looking, it is now more differentiated vs. Target and Kmart’s logos.

Does your logo need a make-over? Food for thought.

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Jeff Hilton interview from Vitafoods, Geneva

Check out IMG co-founder Jeff Hilton in this interview posted on NutraIngredients.com

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Jeff Hilton interviewed at Vitafoods, Geneva.

Check out IMG co-founder Jeff Hilton in this interview posted on NutraIngredients.com

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Keys to Success in Health & Wellness Marketing

successThe odds are stacked against a successful product launch. The competitive retail environment, channel proliferation, a crowded nutrition category and a volatile supply channel lead to the failure of over 80% of new U.S. product launches. But there is hope and opportunity. Learn more about the keys to success in this presentation by Jeff Hilton. View the pdf (4.1 MB).

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Beware the Attack of Private Label Brands

An interesting study was issued recently, from GfK Custom Research North America, which sheds some additional light on consumer shopping behavior in our troubled economy.  The study reports that 30% of consumers polled say they are now buying more “store brand products” compared to a year ago.  In fact, the percentage of respondents who say they buy “store brands” frequently increased sharply to 55%, up from 41% in 2006 and 12% in 1991.  Finally, as one would suspect, 3 out of 4 consumers surveyed say that declining economic conditions are an important factor in their decision to buy more private label.

Private label market share has been on a steady rise for years, long before the current recession began.  And store brands are better than ever.  Costco’s Kirkland brand has taken private label to a whole new level.  The implications of this trend for consumer packaged goods manufacturers are significant and somewhat alarming.  They also represent a call to action that smart marketers will heed; specifically that consumers must have a compelling “motivation” to pay more for a branded item when there is an apparently comparable store brand next to it at a lesser price.  As marketers, we are in the business of building value into our brands through quality, convenience, performance, price, science, education and features.

That is how we move our potential and current customers up the ladder from awareness to loyalty, the holy grail of marketing.

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So in doing battle with private label, you must always provide the consumer with a value proposition that provides both rational and emotional justification for purchase.  It that doesn’t happen, losses in your market share may result.

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Vitafoods Marketing Education Chair Jeff Hilton to Speak at 2009 International Conference

Session Will Focus on LOHAS Consumer Outreach Strategies

SALT LAKE CITY and GENEVA, Switzerland, April 30, 2009 — Integrated Marketing Group’s co-founder and 2009 Vitafoods Marketing Education Program Chair, Jeff Hilton, has been selected to lead a seminar at this year’s International Conference, taking place May 5-7. “Reaching the LOHAS Consumer” will be presented on Wednesday, May 6 from 11:20 to 12:30 in Room K of Switzerland’s Geneva Palexpo.

During the 70-minute educational session, Hilton will review the current state of the growing LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) consumer segment, including dominant attitudes, purchase behaviors and values they seek in natural and sustainable brands. The seminar will explore eight initiatives companies can employ to gain and sustain the attention of this discriminating market segment, and will feature LOHAS-specific case studies of successful marketing campaigns and public relations initiatives.

Continue reading

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Twittering My Life Away?

So what is it with this social media trend? Who has time to update Facebook, LinkedIn and keep tweeting at the same time? Are you feeling claustrophobic surrounded by all of these looming technologies? Wondering how you will ever keep up? Welcome to the future.

By most estimates there are currently 14 million individuals on Twitter, and 70 million on Facebook. Plus 6 million LinkedIn users. While these specific “brands” may not be around in a few years (remember MySpace?), the acceleration of social media channels represents not just a fad or even a trend. It has become a lifestyle. Once the domain of GenX and Gen Y, social media is becoming more and more pervasive. Even Mom and Dad are catching on.

To understand this craze, one needs to recognize that the popularity of these social channels is symptomatic of a larger shift; one toward greater interactivity and control of information. Reality television, though frequently annoying, is also symptomatic. People today want to create the news; in some cases even BE the news. Or at least shape the news they receive in the way they choose. It’s all about control. The days of the passive consumer just taking in whatever they are fed are totally gone. The consumer of the future will control what they receive, when and how they receive it.

So my advice to natural products companies, media and stakeholders is: jump in and learn to swim FAST. Nothing you can do will stop this movement. If you can get out ahead of it you will prosper; if not, you will be swept out to sea with others who never “caught on.” Social media is quickly becoming an activation point for brands where they can connect directly with their customers and participate in market conversations. Don’t miss out.

For those who care, I will be twittering from the Vitafoods Conference and Trade Show in Geneva, Switzerland in May. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jeffreylhilton

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IMG Seeds the (Earth) Day

In celebration of Earth Day, the IMG gang hit the pavement morning, noon and night. Presented with the challenge to find alternate, low-to-no-emission methods of getting to work and back resulted in 4 bikers biking, 3 busers bus-ing, 2 poolers pooling, and our resident partridge in a pear tree Amanda utilizing Salt Lake City’s TRAX light rail system.

At high noon, IMG divided and conquered the downtown lunch crowd (while walking only, of course; we’re not that intrusive) with a bevy of drought-tolerant planting seed packets. The gesture was well-received, and we’re still wondering if the person who asked if he could eat a packet did so (we did not encourage, for the record).

Happy Earth Day! I gotta catch that bus.

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