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Can a Green Shop Get Noticed Today?

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springstar_logo.gif I’m working my fanny off in a green company called SpringStar. We’re focused on pesticide-free pest management. We’re not a start-up. We’ve been around since 1998, but a year ago we re-energized, changed management, etc. Today we’re using insect communications to lure and trap pests, confuse them so they don’t reproduce, or just to repel them. It’s neat stuff, high-tech chemistry and electronics brought to bear with patentable IP, etc.

Our trouble is: getting heard amid the din of ‘green’ pronouncements about energy deals these days.

Let’s be honest, most [green startups] may be sexy today but aren’t going to do much to help global warming or energy independence — and few can stand on their own feet economically without huge taxpayer subsidies.

SpringStar has market viability: people will die this year because of insects, insect-borne diseases, and the pesticides used to attempt to control them. Our stuff works. We are slowly building market share at the retail level, while we work on some cool applications for agriculture and professional pest control.

But our web site stinks (for now) and we don’t have the budget (yet) for professional media/PR firms. So my…

Found|READ Question of the Day is:
With money tight and so much hype in the ‘green market,’ how can I get SpringStar noticed?

7 Responses to “Can a Green Shop Get Noticed Today?”

  1. frodo441

    Sorry for that…I guess it’s just Childhood Psychological baggage…but seeing pictures of two headed dogs just made the dark years of young adulthood even more confusing…if I choose not to trust in some way its only because of my own lack of “understanding”.

  2. Dave,

    My thoughts about your concerns:

    First of all, there is no need to feel impatient. We are in the early, you might even say primitive, period in the green business cycle, so your brand still has ample time to earn its cred with the market. The bulk of the wealth to be generated by businesses like yours lies ahead. It’s not as if you’re in the typewriter or lawn darts business. Be happy about that. Very happy.

    Understand that human communication happens on three levels: Cosmetic, Meta and Emotional. Most of the noise you experience in the marketplace is on the Cosmetic level, which consists of pure information, the dataflow passing through the Networked World. It is akin the noise the ocean makes when it breaks onto the shore. The good news for you and SpringStar is that the Cosmetic level is the least significant, (and least memorable for the market) level of human communication.

    The Meta level consists of the signs, symbols and code we use to connect with one another. A brand is a form of Meta communication. A socially-conscious gesture is another. In your line of work, the honeybee disappearance must have huge metaphorical significance. You could compare this level to what the ocean deposits on the shore. Shells, destruction, beauty, marine life, driftwood, old shoes…you name it, it’s all code for what the ocean itself is actually like.

    The Emotional level is the most important level of communication. It is what moves us — our desires, our dreams, what we value most — and how we move as a result. The truly significant, breakthrough connections between people happen on this level, and in fact cannot happen without it. In terms of the allegory I have begun, it is akin to what you feel when you experience the ocean yourself. Joy, fear, freedom, wonder — these emotions and a thousand more are what motivate us to act the way we do toward the ocean.

    Here’s my advice:

    – ignore the Cosmetic noise. It should not be a concern.

    – establish Themes — no more than four, preferably three — that will define and guide your brand’s communication with the marketplace. This simple organizing principle makes possible a complex communication matrix that will be consistent and memorable for the audience i.e. your marketplace.

    – focus on communicating with your market at the Meta and Emotional levels. by asking and answering these questions over and over. What emotions stir our audience? What ideas, concepts and symbols will they instantly recognize and connect with? What behaviors by our brand will earn the audience’s ‘applause’ (in the form of sales)?

    – finally, recognize that in the Networked World, context is as important as content. You can actually create a media network tailored to your brand and your communication strategy. In the Industrial Age, a brand’s communication had to conform to rigidly constructed platforms like ‘Radio’ ‘TV’ and ‘Newspaper’ In today’s fluid business environment, it is the other way around. The network conforms to the brand.

    Best of luck, and thank you for your post.

  3. Hey Dave,
    would you have any interest in writing a post on a few handy ways that startups — with budgets or not — can “generate conversions,” as you describe above? SpringStar isn’t the only company that would benefit!

  4. Why do you think it takes a big budget to get noticed?

    When I googled you, you came up at the top of the list, but this was after cutting the space between “Spring” and “Star.” I googled your name. Bee Boster came up several times, which probably works fine as this is old product still in your channels, but you need a Bee Booster page that redirects, although I don’t know if Google spiders hate that.

    Are you looking at your server logs? What links are generating conversions? What links need to be rewritten to convert? Get someone to attend to your conversions. That will get you more notice.

  5. Guerrilla PR, write your own releases and send to web sites dedicated to green trends and promotion of eco friendly services. Send your own PR stories to local news, I am sure they are hot for local eco friendly businesses that are helping to fight global warming.