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Anthrax and uranium are organic and natural

Marketers: Exaggeration doesn’t help you.

Puffery, fine print, and good old-fashioned BS erode trust in you, your brand, and all businesses. 

Greenwashing is the latest form of lying.  Stop claiming "organic and natural" has some sort of health benefit, unless it really does.  Yes, you can argue that corn syrup comes from corn.  So does ethanol. Is ethanol healthy?

Everyone pays the price when you exaggerate just a little to sell one more thing.  Each time a customer sees through your latest trick they trust you a little less.

Long term: you lose.

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Comments

  1. Lloyd Duggan March 19, 2008 at 4:19 pm #

    Great point Andy!
    Exaggeration could also lead to negative word of mouth which might leave a company in worse position than if it had done nothing. It makes you wonder if these Marketing Managers really think through the solutions and tactics they choose.

  2. Tim Courtney March 21, 2008 at 5:20 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this, Andy. You’ve captured a sentiment I’ve thought about also. At our company, XNet, we’ve intentionally held back on jumping on the “green” bandwagon just yet. We want to make sure we’re really helping the environment and educating customers to filter out bogus claims before providing “green colocation,” etc.
    A few weeks ago, BusinessWeek had this article which I clipped and filed, “Another Inconvenient Truth”
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_13/b4027057.htm
    Also, BrandWeek recently featured a piece about the growing backlash against companies’ green claims:
    http://www.brandweek.com/bw/news/recent_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003718449
    These are good reading for marketers considering labeling themselves green. As for me, I’m all for helping the environment but want to be sure what I do (and what I sell) is actually helping and not just spinning.

  3. ewa March 21, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    it didn’t arrive fully to Poland yet, but it is coming closer and faster.
    Organic and natural in general is better than synthetic – right?

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