As a Human Impacts Institute representative, I was delighted to attend the Green Spacesinspirational talk given by Beth Bell, president and founder of Green Product Placement, a simply novel idea which is a much welcome and needed piece of the puzzle in trying to shift our currently unsustainable society to a more sustainable one. HII is thrilled to have more people working towards achieving our goal of inspiring people’s engagement through experimental education for achieving a more energy efficient and sustainable future.
Beth identified the opportunity and potential to market green products which are trying to gain more prevalence in the retail market. Her recognition of the potential of such marketing for her clients stemmed from both a personal desire to see more choices available to consumers wishing to purchase green products, while narrowing the gap currently consisting of large monopolies of bigger organizations and marketing chains. Beth represents multiple clients with whom she is well positioned to help place in various types of placement due to her many years of expertise working in this field. While working on the film set of “Runaway Bride,” she was asked to find less conventional hair products for the salon scene. Beth also features in ted.com an interview with Morgan Spurlock.
Those lucky enough to attend this event had the opportunity to place their business cards in a bucket for a draw for a goody bag, full of products that Beth currently looks after for her diverse client base. I happened to be the lucky winner of this goody bag packed full of great green sustainable products, ranging from eco-friendly laundry cleaner, to chips, gluten-free chocolate and cookies, not to mention a new tote bag made from recycled billboard. For more information on Beth’s clients and the contents of the goody bag, see the attached pictures to view some of these products.
Beth wanted to find ways to overcome barriers for green products through advertising and endorsements. She explained some of the various methods available for marketing today, including the use of social media, Google, YouTube, and various blogs to drive traffic to client websites. The advantages of Green Product Placement and its greater exposure over small print ads were discussed. Beth described how in-store promotions have an immediate captive audience, how Groupon works well as a marketing tool for targeting lower- to middle-income earners, and how trade shows have networking and target audience advantages, but are expensive. She then went on to show how her product placement — through integration, sponsorship, and featured props or background props on a set, could give the best opportunity to reach the widest possible audience, and offer her clients the best chance to succeed.
When asked by a member of the audience how she decides what clients to chose and if there was a criteria for what she considered a green product, Beth’s response indicated that she makes her decisions with her business partner, Lisa Dietrich, on a case-by-case basis. Her decision to represent her clients’ products is based on various criteria, including whether the product is developed in a sustainable manner, if it contains green sustainable ingredients, and depending on if it gives back to the community.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with great insight into green product placement. Of equal interest was Green Spaces, who did a fantastic job hosting the event, which was set up by Marissa Feinberg, whose vision was to create a workspace for those interested in working in an open and inspirational office setting. Those interested in utilizing this space to conduct their own work can rent a space on the fifth floor of 395 Broadway. Green Spaces is within walking distance from some of New York City’s famous landmarks, including the Empire State Building; it’s a wonderful location choice. Its open plan set-up allows those who work there to do so while encouraging an open, collaborative, and friendly workspace. A glass-enclosed conference room located near the back of the office space provides a great facility for those wishing to participate in conferences or meetings alike. If you would like to learn more about trying this work space, Green Spaces also offers a free, one-day pass, which can be downloaded from their website, allowing you to come and work in this office for one day, free of charge.
As host to the event, Green Spaces provided guests with a great selection of food and wine from which to choose, from strawberries and grapes to crackers and cheeses — not to mention chocolate-covered pretzels! Chilled white wine provided a much welcomed cooling refreshment to the guests. Even the wine itself fit the green theme with bottles of2010 Green Fin white fine from California, made with organic grapes.
Would you know where to purchase a green laundry detergent? Or how about an environmental friendly lip balm, or a sustainably produced sugar? It was this frustration and recognition of a niche in the current market that inspired Beth to begin Green Product Placement. She described how she wanted to provide the consumer with better choices regarding the product selection available to them in shops, while helping new entrepreneurs of green products to successfully emerge in the difficult market place of today. She identified that the most successful way to help her clients break into the market place involved targeted marketing through the media and careful product placement, thus providing them a larger audience and a greater chance to succeed.
If Green Product Placement is successful, our future should see a greater selection of green products available for consumption, a reduction in current market monopolies, and a greater power and influence to the consumer over what products they purchase and therefore what products are produced for future markets. Our future will hopefully see a shifting in our culture towards a more sustainable future, and providing you and I more power and influence over the products we choose to consume.
For more information see:
Elaine Baker, Human Impacts Institute, NGO Management Intern 2012