We thought Park Howell’s “Sustainable Storyteller” review of Practically Green was so unusual, amusing, and compelling that we’re going to reprint it here for your enjoyment. We met Park a few weeks ago when we blogged about his firm’s Water: Use it Wisely initiative. Welcome aboard, Park!
Green marketers: How well do you know the “greenness” of your customer?
I can’t believe it. I’m only “fairly” friggin’ green, according to an online test I just took at PracticallyGreen.com.
That’s kind of embarrassing for a guy who writes a blog called,“Sustainable Storytelling.”
I admit it. I’m no treehugger. And chances are you’ll never find me strapped to a bulldozer, or flying across the bow of a whaling ship in a Zodiak. To be honest, I’m a middle-of-the-road green guy, arm-in-arm with the masses, because I believe that’s where the greatest incremental change in behavior can be made for the most significant impact on our planet.
I’m a practical green.
I promote water conservation, while still responsibly enjoying my Phoenix grass yard. I try to recycle everything, even the stuff that’s not supposed to go in the container; so points out my wife. I’ve switched to CFL’s wherever I can at home, except for my den ceiling fan where they throw about as much light as a Turkish prison cell (Ever watch “Locked Up Abroad”?).
I sweat like a Swede in a sauna if our house is over 78 degrees in the desert summer. I’ve got to have relief at 76 degrees (points off on the Practically Green scale).
We donate ALL of our unused stuff to Goodwill, and know we have more to give, but just can’t part with that “Hang Loose” muscle shirt I got 20 years ago.
Although I drive a fully combustible 6-cylinder Acura, my commute is just one mile each way from home to office, and has been for 15 years (Practically Green says I should ride my bike more). Michele drives a Highlander hybrid.
I eat red meat without giving a second thought to the cow flatulence I indirectly underwrite.
My point is that I work hard to be “practically green” in the consumer sense of the term, and probably not so much as an “activist.” Even so, I was surprised to be found only “fairly” green. I’ve got work to do.
Have you taken the quiz?
If not, you should. Because it will not only help you understand where you are in the greening process. But you can help this green beta website perfect their scoring system. They’re looking for testers, and I’m gladly promoting their site and their cause.
Susan Hunt Stevens, CEO of PracticallyGreen.com, generously spent an hour on the phone with me last week getting acquainted. Although she hails from Boston, turns out we grew up around the corner from each other in the Seattle area. I asked Susan to sum up the concept of her website.
“What Trip Advisor is to travel, and Weight Watchers is to dieters, and Baby Center is to raising kids, Practically Green is to moms who want to live a more sustainable life for themselves and their families.”
What other description would you expect from the former head of Boston.com, the 5th largest newspaper site on the web, and past director of marketing for NYTimes.com. Susan knows her market, and she is delivering the green goods.
I actually think Practically Green is more like eHarmony. The site helps match your lifestyle and proclivity towards sustainability with healthy products and services to help you achieve your “greenness,” be it “Barely Green,” or the curve-breaking “Wickedly Green.”
“We are a really valuable matchmaker between consumers who want to live a healthier life with products and services that can help them.”
But they’re not just talking to consumers. They’ve refined it even more to moms. And not just all moms, but young moms with babies and toddlers. And there-in lies the brilliance of their business model. Practically Green creates a marketplace that makes it easy for this highly-niched, highly-chatty, and highly-active consumer group to make wise product choices.
Practically Green doesn’t drive the market. Their customers do. And who wins? Everyone. From the mom’s making educated buying decisions, to the accountability of the companies, products and services on their site, to Practically Green for making it all happen.
It’s the ultimate business model that gains greater knowledge about their customer every time they help their customer gain greater knowledge about their healthy green buying decisions. Manufacturers don’t push product. They simply answer to an active consumer demand under the harrowing light of immediate accountability through this growing community of consumers.
Finally, I have to also give a nod to their “Mother Board.” This is Practically Green’s board of advisors, and I get a chuckle out of the name every time I think of it. They’re looking for more advisors, and if you’re interested, by all means contact Susan’s right arm: Sarah Finnie Robinson.
I dare you. Take the test, and let me know your shade of green.