I used a couple-three internal buzz words the other day in an email exchange, and was asked to define a “Pre-order Petition,” a “Buzz Visualizer” and “Brand Judo.” These are examples of a few tools that Greenpeace has used successfully in the past, and I thought I’d share:
A pre-order petition is a way of demonstrating a market for a product that may not exist yet. It’s a convenient way to counter industry flacks who say “we don’t produce environmentally sound products, because there is no market for them.” Or “nobody will pay more a green product.”
Greenpeace Germany did this with GreenFreeze by asking supporters if they would commit to being the first purchasers of a new refrigeration technology that didn’t use climate-killing chemicals.
In the spring of 1992 Greenpeace brought together scientists who had extensively researched the use of propane and butane as refrigerants, with an East German company DKK Scharfenstein. The company had been producing refrigerators for 50 years and was the leading household appliance manufacturer in the former East Germany. After reunification, however, it faced severe economic problems and was due to be closed down.
When DKK Scharfenstein announced their intention to mass produce “GreenFreeze”, Greenpeace Germany successfully campaigned to gather tens of thousands of pre-orders for the yet-to-be-produced new refrigerator from environmentally conscious consumers. This overwhelming support from the public secured the capital investment needed for the new ‘GreenFreeze’ product, and at the same time, salvaged the company and saved the jobs of its workers.
A buzz visualizer can be as simple as a technorati graph like this one, which charts mentions of “Light Bulbs” and “Global Warming” occurring together in blogs for the last 180 days:
Or it could look like the Green my Apple iBuzz page, which shows latest Flickr photo submissions, latest blog mentions, and latest socially bookmarked mentions of the campaign:
It can also be as simple as a “donation thermometer” which charts how close to a financial goal a fundraising drive has gotten.
Brand Strength Judo
When trying to wrestle with a strong brand, “Brand Strength Judo” is a means of channeling a brand’s own strength against it, so that all the advertising money that they have put into creating a consumer identity or a brand icon gets subverted BY the campaign, making that identity or icon work for us and our objectives.
An example would be using Apple users’ love of their Apple products (something that Apple has cultivated and made powerful) as the force demanding environmental change at Apple. We don’t attack the brand, we use its own strength by saying “We love our Macs, we just wish they came in Green.”
Another example would be using Iceland’s reputation as a Nature destination for tourists (an identity they put big advertising into) against it by reaching out to precisely those tourists with the message that Iceland is killing whales.
Or subverting Coke’s Polar Bears from brand symbols to climate change victims in our spoof messaging.
Blogged with Flock