Thursday, July 14, 2005

Green Goes The Nappies, O!

We have a simple set of beliefs at Chief amongst these is that people respond best when they WANT to do something rather than being cajoled, shamed or coerced into it. And that includes doing the 'right' thing. Not far behind is that market forces and consumer power are facts of life, so it's best to figure out how to understand and benefit from shaping them. This is seldom served well by the grant mentality, which tends to view the goal as getting, spending and then reapplying for the next grant, rather than creating an independent, viable business model based on customer demand. You survive, and thrive, by making consumers want your product.

So it was a privilege yesterday to find myself presenting some marketing, design and ad concepts to a local organisation called EnviroAbility, who I am hoping represent the new wave of thinking that is to be found in community groups. Their efforts span many relevant and worthwhile areas, from recycling to book swaps to collecting unwanted tools for reuse. We have already worked with them on creating the RE-Box doorstep collection brand, which has proven highly successful.

This time it was looking at better ways to market their Green Nappies service, which is basically an environmentally much more sound way of dealing with our little darlings' 24/7 waste consequences, and that's a fact despite anything that was broadcast in a rather unhelpful report on the matter recently. Plus these products are now not just as good as disposables, but BETTER in almost every way.

What was key is that they were treating this as a true business opportunity, with an analysis of the market, target demographics, etc. And, most importantly, had an appreciation that they were competing with major, established BRANDS here. These are guys blowing millions on making consumers opt for them. So, with huge immodesty, all credit Green Nappies for getting in a pro. With a few decades of fmcg ad experience behind me, I do know a thing or two.

My strategic analysis was made a whole lot easier by a wealth of information and research made freely available by organisations such as WRAP (who had seed-funded this effort, in what I think is a much better way for such money to be invested). And the production burdens were equally eased by a lot of resource material that was on offer.

However what was most interesting to me was how much so many of the suggested creative directions for this material were very much constrained. I don't know by what, or who, but great selling and persuading messages were buried in cold facts and figures of no interest to anyone but the target obessives, as opposed to the actual target markets. Maybe I have answered my own question there.

What’s for sure is that it was liberating to turn this material into a hard-hitting, results-driven, consumer-influencing campaign.

Best of all, with my final presentation words echoing away, it was great to see the smiles on the faces of the collection of high-calibre local business folk who form the EnviroAbility board. They got it. I think, with's help wherever possible, they are going to make it happen. And we're going to see a new way of doing good, AND doing well.

So watch this space. And this URL: (direct link above)