In Public Relations and communications words matter. This may seem self evident, yet, we see huge differences of opinion and great chasms open, due to vast variation of definition. Take the the term “healthcare tax” for example. The fist fight over definition on this one went through the Supreme Court and still enters “extra rounds” as the Obama Administration tries still to position the Affordable Health Care Act” as anything but a tax. Words matter.
What do the following terms mean?
Social Responsibility, Ethical, Green, Social Conscience, Fair, Right & Wrong, Diversity, Tolerance. Change the audience or the context and we see wide swings in exactly what these words mean.
To many, green is just a color, but to a growing audience, it means many other things. Green power for one; social responsibility to another; a question of ethics to some; an outlook of in harmony with people and the planet to others. To the politically correct, it’s government policy debated with dozens of variables.
As a leadership model some define it by how to recognize it when you see it: Accountability, Transparency, Credibility,
Enabling, Visionary. To the conservative, it may represent extremism; to the liberal it may be social conscience. There is even a test for green business: People, Planet, Profit.
So, where is green going? If you seek government funding for some green technology slated to save the planet, you may be waiting a long time in the U.S. as the “chickens come home to roost” with the exploding national debt and the lagging bad taste left by the government green lotto failure of Solyndra.
If you seek private funding for green products, you will find a steadily growing flow of investment based more on business sense not only social conscience. Speaking of conscience, the young adult of today is more socially responsible and aware than any preceding generation. So, it would stand to reason that products and services of the future will have to pass the litmus test of green, however it is defined.
If you are in the military, not only does the politically correct green umbrella hang over your head, but you have to plan on a world with increasing oil shortages and an unlimited need for energy.
How do you define “success” among green startups? Eric Wesoff of GreenTechMedia recently asked for examples of CleanTech Success. ElectraTherm & Humless are among my Green PR clients doing great things. They are successful at garnering partners, customers, & investors. I’m not sure plans on going public soon. How do you define success: investment, IPO, a bunch of customers, job creation, or profitability?
My take is some are growing weary of “Green.” Marketers and Green Public Relations pros like me will have to find different words to get the message across, so as to attract, not offend. What do you think?Share