Google CPG blog - News and Notes from Google"s CPG Vertical

Spring Into Green

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Posted by Elizabeth Mills, CPG Account Manager

Green, eco-friendly, organic, natural, sustainable – no matter the term, more and more of today’s consumers make simple, informed decisions about the products they bring into their homes. Forty-nine percent of consumers report searching for environmentally friendly products at least some of the time when making an online purchase [i], and 34 percent of Americans use internet searches to research and to determine whether the brands they’re buying are socially responsible [ii].

What aspects of "Green" do consumers really care about? Do consumers value products that are animal friendly (not tested on animals)? Environmentally friendly? How would consumers prioritize various green attributes of their CPG products? According the trends Mintel Global New Products Database, it looks like packaging has increased significantly in importance from 2007 to 2009. Not being tested on animals, is still the most important.

New Product Introductions Making Selected Ethical Claim, US (2004-2009)

Source: Mintel GNPD

Investing in and promoting awareness of social responsibility is paying off in the CPG world. Fifty-seven percent of adult internet users in the United States report being willing to spend more on environmentally friendly products [iii]. Companies are capitalizing on this burgeoning market with new products and positioning strategies: As other beauty categories saw sales declines in 2008 and 2009, natural and organic personal care sales increased seven percent; across strong-performing household categories, significant increases came from positioning new or existing products as sustainable [iv].

As a CPG marketer, ask yourself:
  • How is my company or my brand making strides toward being more environmentally-friendly or socially responsible? How am I communicating this to my consumers? Do users searching for eco-friendly product lines see ads for my product?
  • Do consumers associate my brand with social responsibility? Am I adequately supporting my offline investments by promoting awareness and engaging consumers online?
  • Am I conveying how using my brand means taking a simple step toward a greener lifestyle? Am I positioning my product line as an alternative using paid search and the Google Content Network?

Whether you've been marketing green products for years or you've launched your first eco-friendly line, make sure you're leveraging online as an ecosystem for informing and empowering consumers to go green with your brand.

[i] DoubleClick Performics Green Marketing Research survey 06/2008
[ii] eMarketer, "How Green Marketers Can Lure Consumers" 5/13/2009
[iii] eMarketer, *The Center for Media Research April, 2009
[iv] Mintel GNPD, 2009