The Rainforest Alliance is proving that green products are a significant opportunity for growing sales even in this unsettled economy. Impressively, Rainforest Alliance certified chocolates now represent 10 percent of the world’s chocolate sales. Their certified teas have 12 percent worldwide market share. Approximately 15 percent of all bananas are Rainforest Alliance-certified. The business success generated by the Rainforest Alliance has attracted hundreds of alliance partners including Unilever, Yogi Tea and Clif Bar.
The frog icon is recognized worldwide as representing authentic green products. September 16-22, 2013 is follow the frog week.
Align value with values. Pricing is always critical in winning customers and competitive advantage. A key lesson learned is that most customers don’t want to pay more for going green. But there is a critically important exception to this rule. About 15-20 percent of customers will pay a little more for a product that better aligns with their values. Moms will really work their budgets to afford a product that truly makes a wellness difference on behalf of their loved ones. The millennial generation will shop at Patagonia even if their prices are higher because this company’s authenticity aligns with this generation’s thirst for authenticity. The business bottom line is that a group of really significant customers are willing to pay more to go green. Winning these customers will generate attractive profit results. What the Rainforest Alliance program enables is a path for a business to offer products with certified authenticity at competitive prices.
Trust is the brand. In today’s social media connected world, a product can go from being a protein meat supplement to “pink slime” with one video or blog posting that goes viral. Company and product brands are trust-marks for today’s consumers. Trust is built through authenticity and transparency plus the ability to communicate these qualities in a credible manner. Certifications from organizations like the Rainforest Alliance are now critical brand components expected by jaundiced consumers.
“Shop the frog” marketing. Another reality in today’s world is that none of us have the time to be experts on every product we buy. Marketing is the path for engaging customers on all their issues beyond the price tag. Rainforest Alliance has effectively done this by creating a marketing campaign called “shop the frog!” Their frog logo captures in one image all that the Alliance represents and stands behind in certifying products. It is a fun, easy way for consumers to find products and companies that align with their wellness, social and environmental concerns. This can be especially valuable to small and mid-size businesses by offering them a globally recognized logo comparable to the logos built by large corporations.
Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017
Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!