Beyond the Advertisement: Other Green Branding Tactics

While green advertising is a valuable tool for many organizations, it’s not the only element of branding that can successfully communicate the environmental benefits associated with a given company. Here, we’ll look at other means by which corporations are striving to visually associate their brand with eco-friendly business practices in the minds of consumer:

Good logo design is imperative in all sectors of the advertising industry, but it’s especially important when trying to communicate a company’s green practices. Summing up a company or organization in a single small illustration is no easy feat—especially when attempting to convey the environmental benefits of a green organization. This post published by Sneh Roy from LittleBoxofIdeas, a design studio in Sydney, Australia, provides 50 quality examples of logos that incorporate green design in order to communicate the environmental benefits supplied by their respective companies.

Likewise, many organizations strive to impart proof of eco-friendly business practices through elaborate, green website designs. This article, found on Balkhis, showcases a variety a websites sponsored by different organizations in order to illustrate the environmentally- conscious aspects of their businesses through natural, organic web elements. Some send obvious messages of green ethics, while others rely on a more understated appearance.

While these examples of website and logo design illustrate the many ways in which companies move beyond traditional advertising to help convey green business practices, they also help to highlight a more menacing phenomenon—under strict social pressures to move toward environmental consciousness and green business practices, nearly every profit-driven company strives to relate its brand with ecologically responsible methods of production, distribution and promotion in the eyes of its consumers. The problem with this notion lies in the simple fact that not all of these companies are as environmentally responsible as they imply.

One consumer who viewed the aforementioned collection of logos insightfully commented, “…there is a real malaise out there in terms of what “green” means. Consumers don’t trust it. Brands need to be careful. As brand developers, we need to be smart about how we advise our clients to leverage their green-ness.” While many consumers are becoming more educated on issues surrounding environmental business practices, corporations are beginning to rely heavily on more aggressive and subversive tactics to sway audiences toward their products. Here, the issue of greenwashing surfaces yet again:

While some of these web designs and logos accurately portray the green characteristics of the companies they represent, others mistakenly assign environmental qualities to ecologically negligent businesses. Often, many unsustainable corportations border on issues of greenwashing when they incorporate green elements into their logos, falsely insinuating to consumers that they adhere to environmentally friendly businesses practices. In doing so, these companies put themselves at high risk for reduced brand value; should consumers discover the truth behind dishonest logo and web designs, they may suffer eroded trust in certain companies and organizations.

With so many green designs circulating in the public sphere, how are unassuming consumers supposed to differentiate between the trustworthy, eco-friendly companies and those businesses that erroneously incorporate organic, natural elements into their branding materials?


About Emily Papp

Seattle native navigating the world of digital strategy, design thinking and brand karma. Associate UX designer at LinkedIn. University of Oregon advertising alum.
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