Thursday, May 15, 2008

Diary of a Conflicted Marketer

Take a look at this very interesting article focusing on method - the company; taken from over on Diary of a Conflicted Marketer:

"Here's what Tom Fishburne from Method Home had to say about the concept of green marketing. It seems to me that Method Home places most emphasis on being stylish, fun and guilt free first - you discover its stance on green issues if you look a bit harder. A brilliant company with brilliant products.

'We like to consider ourselves to be hip and not hippy. Our mission is to inspire a healthy, happy, home revolution. First and foremost we want to be perceived as being a brand that has both style and substance. The old view of green products, particularly in the 1980s and early 1990s was far too much associated with treehuggers but thankfully this has changed. To get people on board today you have to appeal much more in the mainstream. It’s about making progress, not being perfect. It used to be that if you were not perfect (i.e.100% green) then you were bad. But now it is possible to be good before you are considered to be great. Green issues and initiatives simply have to take away the guilt associations and shake off the holier than thou image. Products and services should look nice whilst not sacrificing on their principles.

With some of the more ethical cleaning products of the market you don’t necessarily want to put them out on display in the home environment. The substance is on the inside, but it is not really making a statement. Eric Ryan, one of our founders kept asking: ‘Why do people always hide their household products under the sink?’ But at Method we are shame free, so we use design to take the product out of the cupboard and onto the surfaces – for one think it makes cleaning more convenient. When we started Method Home we wanted to get people to get into green concerns but we didn’t want to shout about it. What they were getting, without knowing it, were highly designed products with ethical substance both inside and out. If we had shouted about the ethical side to the products early on I think that people would have been much more cynical about what we were doing.

Our premium homecare range is highly effective, safe and packages with respect for the environment as well as people’s design sensibilities. The thing is the green and environmental side of things is not always the easiest hook for people to understand. Instead we are trying to be Innocent of the home care market. We are the challenger brand. We are the David in the David versus Goliath situation. Our obsessions are the long-term strategies that deliver a big competitive advantage, and it’s hard for a company such as P+G to do this. We don’t really don’t care if the big companies copy our products, our fragrances, our claims, our advertising, they will never have our culture or be able to react with the speed that we are doing things. We think that rules and conventions are there to be broken to we will always be faster and fresher.

In the past green products were generally deemed ineffective. Thankfully all of that has changed. At Method we call ourselves ‘people against dirty’. But for us being ‘dirty’ does not just mean the stuff that gets in between the tiles on your floor. It means the toxic chemicals that make up many of the household products out there on the market, it means polluting our land with non-recyclable materials, these are things we are completely against. We develop non-toxic, healthy alternative products for use around children, pets and people. This is for people who want to do the right thing but don’t want to have to wear a pair of Birkenstocks to do it. Whereas you might consider crunchy granolas dark green, we are appealing to the mass consumer – the light greens.

But we cant pretend to be perfect, but we are moving in the right direction. Although we are based in the US we are (now manufacturing) in the UK. We are looking at responsible sourcing, using renewable energy, building collaborative partnerships with other companies that are trying to take on the power of the multi-nationals. We also want to become known as one of the leading companies for producing the healthiest products with all ingredients clearly stated. Some companies might think that ammonia or bleach are the smell of clean. We don’t. We think smells like the smell of flowers, of different fruit, herbs such as lavender or Magnolia, are much better. Just because it smells strong, does not mean it will clean any better. Instead it is probably really damaging to the environment.

We are also looking at new solutions for refilling bottles and other improvements to the design process. It is all about looking for opportunities and capitalising on them – particularly as consumers are starting to think about things end to end. We are looking at what the next refill model will be, the future of mix and math fragrances could be, what kinds of triggers could be used on products and how they could be reused on subsequent purchases.

Ultimately we are really inspired by personal care products rather than cleaning products. I really love the product ranges of companies such as Molton Brown. The key is to get the consumers to trade up from the Good (private label small brand), to the Better (more a mass market proposition) to the Best (companies like Green & Blacks).

If products are well designed, fun and guilt free our Method will win over the consumers without having to preach. Nobody wants to feel bad about their product choices regardless of what they are.'

Quite right too."

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