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Putting sustainability into practice

Jul 21, 2011

Guest blog by Karen Barnes, VP Insight, Shelton Group.

http://www.sheltongrp.com/


I love a good theory as much as the next girl. But you know what I love even more? Seeing a theory come to life in the real world. A great idea put into practice, creating change.

 

Here are two examples from my recent travels. First, this is a really smart, very sustainable way to reduce the number of barely used bottles that get trashed by hotel cleaning crews every day, compliments of Hampton Inn. This is a great example of a nudge. By only providing these necessities in a self-serve, use-only-what-you-need fashion, Hampton Inn has made the desired behavior the default. If you don’t like this model, well, you can always opt to bring your own toiletries, so personal choice is still available.

 

No more wasted soap bars. No more tiny little plastic bottles in the landfill.

 

And other travelers are noticing additional benefits as well. Here’s a comment about the Skokie, ID, Hampton Inn. “I loved the bathroom dispensers for the shampoo and conditioner because we never ran out (I had 5 other girls in my room).” Not only is this solution more sustainable, it’s also more convenient — a huge driver for mainstream consumers!

 

Last week, I traveled to Washington, DC where I stayed at the Helix, a Kimpton Hotel, one of my very favorite boutique chains. Of course, parking is at a premium everywhere in the nation’s capital, but if you drive a hybrid to the Helix, you get a reward. Your parking is half-price!

 

If you’re a hybrid driver in the DC-area, you can also zip along in the HOV lanes and avoid the nasty traffic snarls. In other words, you get special rewards – really good ones at that – for doing the sustainable thing. You save money. You save time. Oh, and you can help “save the planet” at the same time.

 

For marketers, think about how you can reward your customers for doing the right thing. Can you give them ongoing rewards? Can you make something simpler, less expensive, or more convenient for them? Can you partner with other companies to extend or encourage the rewards? Since sustainability is rarely, if ever, the primary reason anyone purchases anything, rewards need to fill those primary needs in order to keep encouraging the desired behavior.

 

If you’re seeing examples out there or actually practicing some theories that are resulting in behavior change in the real world, we’d love to hear about and see them. Post ‘em here folks!

 

Note: Thank you, Karen, for allowing Wyoming Entrepreneur to re-post your article in our weekly blog!!



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Susan Jerke


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