Going, Going Green


In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, Catchword’s naming leprechauns have been busy compiling statistics on Green names and implications for marketers.

It seems everyone’s jumping on the green brandwagon. Trademark filings incorporating “green” jumped 143% between 2006 and 2007, versus under 5% for “red” and “blue.” Clorox’s recent introduction of Green Works, a line of biodegradable household cleaners, exemplifies the trend.

“Eco” and “earth” names also showed huge gains (almost doubling), while more general terms like “nature,” “natural,” and “pure” grew less than 20%.

What does all this mean for marketers, going forward? Are “green” names still golden? Or are there greener pastures? Here’s our take on green naming:

Top 5 Green Naming Tips

1) If you’re going to go (or say) “green,” it’s got to be credible. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy at evaluating green claims and increasingly dubious about green names from companies without solid eco-bona fides.

2) Green is an amazing word, communicating nature, vibrance, sustainability, eco-awareness, and more in one friendly syllable. But aside from overuse, in the not-so-distant future the claim itself will become a point of parity. Marketers will have to look to other naming differentiators.

3) If you must say “green” in your name, be sure to pair it with an interesting, even unexpected second word. And by all means, avoid forced constructions like “Greenovation” and “Greengevity” which undo the beauty and simplicity of the word.

4) Better yet, look for ways to say “green” without saying “green.” Consider names that key on the end-benefits of going green, both to the planet and the consumer living healthier, saving the world, giving to future generations, doing the right thing. Brands like Seventh Generation, Burt’s Bees, and Tom’s of Maine subtly yet evocatively suggest eco-friendliness.

5) Whether or not you adopt a “green” name, be sure to use packaging (or lack thereof), logo design and other visual cues to telegraph eco-consciousness. A brand like Method successfully conveys “green” entirely through non-naming marketing tools.


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