Consumers are turning the tables on marketers. Sure, social networking has given buyers a bigger voice. But I’m talking about a new phenomenon specific to the green marketing space.
It’s a cross between a flash mob and the good old carrot vs stick method to promote behavior change. It’s called Carrotmob and it’s literally sprouting up around the world.
The brainchild of Stanford grad Brent Schulkin, the first Carrotmob event was staged in 2008. Schulkin invited two dozen mom & pop convenience stores in San Francisco to compete for the added customers that Schulkin promised he could deliver in one day. To win the competition, the stores had to name a percentage of earnings they would commit to sustainable upgrades to their stores. The winning retailer threw down a 22% bid. Hundreds of Carrotmobbers descended on the store spending over $9,000. The storeowners – true to their promise -- spent nearly $2,000 to greenify their store and, as an added benefit, they’ve been replacing their standard packaged goods with healthier alternatives to keep their new customers coming back.
So what’s the Big Idea here? Is it that groups of activists – from Canberra to Freiburg from Tunisia to Saskatoon -- are staging “buycotts?” Yes, but its longer term, more mainstream potential is so much more.
The big idea is that consumers, fueled by social media and inspired to use their buying clout in inventive ways, will call more shots. Not by protesting but by revolutionizing the idea of “market demand.” Think about it. At Red Kite, we certainly are. A focus for us is helping clients tap into the female consumer market. Knowing that women are more prolific shoppers, more environmentally active, more active on social media, and better at word-of-mouth, we think they will be the mainstream mobbers of the future.
Will you be ready?