Simple Advertising You people are idiots.

25Sep/08Off

Green Financial Products?

This is a quickly edited version of one of our email replies to someone's question. They work for a Mid West Regional Bank and wanted to know how to advertise "Green."

About that green question... I normally limit questions to strictly 'advertising' (which is a task), and don't wander very far into 'marketing' (which is decision making/management stuff). Green is somewhere in between. What I would suggest is looking through your product offerings with one of your VPs and find some stories in your existing product line that have helped people adopt a real life green practice. Since financial products aren't a green practice, show your products accomplishing things green for real people and tell that story separately. Quick hint: berm and log homes are weatherization to reduce use, but solar conversions and wind power are co-generation to make power on site. Co-generation is a much stronger 'green' story. Do NOT market 'green' to women. Women already get it. A Guy in a hard hat is probably the strongest image to have next to a message about using your products to accomplish something green. Local contractors that specialize in this work should know your bankers.

Weatherization products are about cost savings, but there is an easy "feel-good" green element. If you want to get some real traction for your loan products: show your viewers the money. Saving money sells, and green feels good. The smart move is to let you customers have both--but sell it on the financial merit. Show them some figures about dollar savings BUT include some info about the reduction in carbon footprint. First let them know that your product is excellent and will save them real money, then let them feel good that there is a green benefit. "We got this great loan that let us buy insulation and efficiency windows, and then... Gosh, we found out we saved the planet!"

If your company is feeling like there is strong enough interest in your area, they might even re-brand some products so that they can be marketed specifically as green. "Special" Loan products for Solar Panels and Windmills might even get you in the news if you find a way to get the new loan programs 'endorsed' by a local government or even organizations like the local Chamber of Commerce. Your board looks pretty well qualified to get you plugged in with some folks outside the bank to promote some community/goodwill kind of efforts by making them newsworthy. The task is to get news attention for the new green project but keep some attention on the loan program that made the project possible. All news organizations have people that have to come up with human interest stories. Greening homes and businesses can let them punch their ticket for this week's article or broadcast. You get to call it PR, they call it news.

Congrats on the new job. Hope these ideas are helpful for you!