Seth Godin on Green Marketing

Seth Godin writes wonderful, funny little books on marketing. The message in his latest hit: Marketing is about telling stories. "Make no mistake: This is not about tactics or hype or little things that might matter. This is a whole new way of doing business. It’s a fundamental shift in the paradigm of how ideas spread. Either you’re going to tell stories that spread, or you will become irrelevant." Those selling the Green Brand should listen.

In one chapter he analyzes the success of Avalon Organics, maker of safe, organic cosmetics. excerpted from ::FortuneSometimes the story conjures up a pleasant memory.

I’m sitting here looking at a bottle of Avalon Organic Botanicals Therapeutic Rosemary Glycerin Soap featuring 70% certified organic ingredients. This soap (about four ounces in a pump-top, green plastic bottle) costs approximately 30 times as much per wash as generic bar soap. Is it worth 30 times as much? Does it get me 30 times as clean? Does soap really need to be organic? Of course not. Yet I’ve found a bottle of this soap in the guest bathrooms of at least three friends’ houses.

The Avalon experience begins in the store when you notice the elegant look of its bottles. It feels good to pick up the bottle. It feels good to know you can afford a luxury like this. It feels good to tell yourself a story about organic fields of rosemary. It’s a nice lie to believe that you’re giving something back to the planet by supporting this friendly little company.

Using the soap itself is nothing but a reminder of the way you felt (good) when you told yourself a story while buying the soap in the first place. The product is nothing but a souvenir of your trip to the store—and a reminder of the way you felt when you bought it.