By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, Marketing and Communications Consultant to CRB
In a recent post Erin Reilly, Haas MBA ’04, wrote about how CRB helped influence her career. I had the great opportunity to see Erin in action at the GreenBiz Forum13 in San Francisco last week. Erin leads green marketing at Google where she is responsible for driving global engagement with Google’s work in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green products.
Erin led one of the GreenBiz Guru sessions, where participants could choose a table and spend an hour with a range of sustainability experts. There was a big crowd around Erin’s table, all eager to hear her tips for scaling your green message.
She did a stellar job at facilitating the discussion to ensure everyone had a chance to share. Here are some of the lessons learned she shared from her time at Google and Yahoo on how to mainstream your green message:
1. Avoid guilty or preachy messages. Many of us know this, but it is always good to be reminded to keep messages positive and action oriented.
2. When talking to a mainstream audience, avoid using the word carbon footprint. The Google Green home page uses broader phrases such as “greening our company” and “better for the environment”. Google uses carbon footprint on deeper levels of the site, where stakeholders who want to dig into the data can find more details.
3. Capture attention by answering a common question. Erin pointed to the example of the Story of Send, where Google answers the question of what happens when we send an email, highlighting its green practices along the way.
4. Bring out beauty and build on intrigue. Google launched Where the Internet Lives, which unveiled for the first time stunning photos of its data centers. A creative twist to being more transparent about where the cloud lives.
5. Keep it simple. Need I say more? Erin pointed to the example of the Story of Stuff, which simplifies a complex topic in a way that everyone can relate to.
6. Be able to laugh. This came up in a discussion about using video to get our message out. Erin pointed us to a Rainforest Alliance video, Follow the Frog. If you need a good laugh, I highly recommend watching this 3-minute piece. For a video to go viral, Erin said you need to create great content. “One way is to create something funny, poignant, and have a surprise.” This video, with over a million views, is a great example of successfully combining these ingredients.