The T word: Trust. It was a constant theme of the speakers I heard today at a Social Media Conference, including greats such as Problogger Darren Rowse and Wine Library's Gary Vaynerchuck. It's hard to gain and easy to lose, and often easier for a small business to win than a large one...
And then came today's newsletter from Marcia Yudkin, of the Marketing Minute. As usual, she hits the nail on the head, and warns about the dangers of greenwashing - being all hype and no substance. [Like restaurants that have a 'sustainable' product or two on the menu, but still bring bottled water half way round the earth to sell. Or cafes that only supply coffee in paper cups, even if you sit down.]
She reminds us: "To show that you're not just pretending to jump on today's greenwagon, incorporate as many as possible of these factors:
1. Hard facts (what you've done), not commitments (what you say you'll do).
2. Substantiation for your claims - for example, back up the statement that your operations are carbon-neutral.
3. Third-party green certifications, with links that show what they mean.
4. Non-promotional material that helps readers understand the issues on which you're taking action.
5. Advice for readers on how they too can follow suit.
6. Transparency and truthfulness. Don't attempt to hide elements that go against your overall stance.
Your reward: The trust of those who share your convictions, respect from those who haven't yet seen the light, and joyfulness in your conscience."