To Gain Credibility, Green Brands Must Lead by Example

March 12, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Metrics | Technology

To build a strong brand in the green space, corporations must first gain credibility by providing evidence of investments in more efficient operations and green buildings,?according to EcoAlign’s third survey on green brands and brand messaging.

Below,?some of the?findings from the study.?

Environmental Leadership

Most respondents – 77% – said energy-efficient buildings are the most important quality/activity of a corporation that’s trying to be an environmental leader:


  • 73% cited green operational models.
  • 70.2% said renewable energy investments are the most important activity.
  • Political advocacy was not given much credit – only 22.5% selected it.

Perceived Commitment

Provided a list of 12 companies from various industries and asked to choose those most committed to using or providing renewable energy, respondents selected the following:


  • GE – 81% said it was the most committed.
  • Toyota was second with 65%.
  • WalMart (36.9%), Caterpillar (28.5%), and XM Mobile (28%) hovered at the other end of the spectrum.
  • Utility companies (i.e., SoCal Ed, GM, Florida Power & Light) were given neutral ratings, with little differentiation between them.

Brand awareness is very low in the energy and environment space, the survey found:

  • 54% of consumers could not name, on an unaided basis, a company that supplied renewable or “green” energy.
  • 71% of respondents were not familiar, on an aided basis, of 10 “pureplay” companies in the renewable/green energy space.

Consumer perception of the energy industry’s commitment to promoting or providing renewable or efficient energy is divided:

  • 31% said their electric utilities company is not at all committed.
  • 36% were neutral.
  • 33% rated the commitment level a?7 or higher on a 10-point scale.


Key terms of the green movement, such as “social responsibility,” “sustainability,” and “going green,” are not equally well understood:


  • Fully 71% rated their level of familiarity with the term “energy efficiency” an 8-10 on a 10-point scale.?
  • Only 53% gave a similar rating for “going green.”

“There is a great opportunity to become a green brand leader with the right commitment and marketing approach,” stated Andrea Fabbri, COO and CMO. “But the current emphasis on public relations and advertising is not going to do it alone.”

About the report: EcoAlign conducted a total of 1,000 online interviews in Feb. ’08. The sample is balanced to match the US population by age, gender, region and ethnicity.

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