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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Green Marketing Manifesto by John Grant – New Title published November 2007

Buy the book here or read a review

Green Marketing Manifesto John Grant 2007 Harper Collins Click on the title and you can order the book from Amazon.



Listen to John Grant being interviewed on the night of Nov 8th 2007when the book was launched.



Review of Green Marketing Manifesto

This isn’t going to be the longest review in the world but it is going to be a positive one. John has managed to avoid 2 things which usually come screaming out of every book I have ever read about doing business ethically. Being earnest and being exclusive. I suspect a lot of this is down to his writing style. Earnest books tell you there is no alternative and the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Actually John does say very much the same but without beating us over the head. He starts off the book with 5 Is – of which conspicuous in its absence is Image – that is where so many companies have got into trouble by projecting green credentials but not delivering the goods. Say nothing at all if you have to and do it anyway because a) you want to and b) its good for business. Exclusivity is also of course a big turnoff. Suggesting that anyone who doesn’t follow your advice to the letter is morally decadent isn’t a way to build friends and influence people. Once of the most interesting things about this book is how you can’t do everything so you need to decide what you strategy is and direct your efforts to that. Hardly exclusive then. Nor does he overpromise that it is going to be easy – as soon as you start on this path the goal posts will move – you will have to keep improving your game. But you may as well get started because this is what customers connect with and it can give you a point of difference. So no gratuitous self righteousness then.

The book is constructed around a 9 cell grid. The first column is about setting new standards in products and services, the second on collaboration with customer and the 3rd column is about reshaping a new culture. The rows cover firstly at a company level, then at a social level and finally at a cultural level. What is disarming is that in each of these cells rather than some kind of Defcon system – you know you should be tictactoeing across to bottom right…. there is two strategic options in each cell. So literally 18 different strategies. When you dig into these you discover that what you have is another great planning book which would be a mind of information even if you weren’t pursuing a green agenda. The chapter on co-branding is a great introduction to co-branding anyway though this is one of the best ways of demonstrating green credentials by partnering with an NGO.

The big challenge this book sets out to bridge is how marketing can be sustainable and still promote consumption. And to an extent it ducks the issue. If you have to make 15% YOY growth to keep the stock holders happy then John isn’t going to help. But this is a book about marketing – using marketing to change attitudes towards sustainability – just what marketing ought to be good at. The book works within the framework that unlimited growth is neither sustainable or desirable. This should be required reading for any marketer whether CSR is a strategy for corporate relations or something bigger. And looking for strong marketing ideas. What this book demonstrates is how powerful green marketing ideas are – for grabbing the attention of the public. And what an opportunity this represents for brands.

I will be rereading this book because the first time around I was on a deadline and read it far too fast. I was preparing for a business development workshop for a startup who want to take an ethical stance in a market where it has has been conventionally thought difficult if not impossible to set out sustainable marketing credentials. In the end I cut to the chase and mailed a copy of the Green Marketing Manifesto to the CEO 2 days before. And got the best endorsement when I arrived – That book you sent me he said. First class – its so practical.

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