The new book ‘The Gort Cloud: The Invisible Force Powering Today’s Most Visible Green Brands’ chronicles the marketing and brand building experiences of America’s leading green companies. Author Richard Seireeni explains how 23 successful ‘green’ companies like Southwest Windpower, Michelle Kaufman Designs and Tesla Motors built their brands, and how they used an invisible marketing force to reach the green community.
During his research, Seireeni discovered an invisible network that delivers partners and customers to green businesses with little or no use of conventional advertising media. He calls this network The Gort Cloud, describing it as an aspect of Web 2.0, viral marketing, crowdsourcing and social media. “But it’s also much more than that,” he says. “The Gort Cloud is millions of people connecting to green information through a vast, interconnected community. It’s an amazing business resource for honest green companies. It can deliver partners and a market at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising, and with greater credibility. But woe the greenwasher, because The Gort Cloud also has the power of collective peer review, and will come down harshly on exaggerators.”
Seireeni states that the biggest challenge facing aspiring green brands isn’t developing product ideas, but getting the word out. And not just to customers. “Ecopreneurs must also get the word out to prospective partners, investors and employees, to upstream suppliers, to downstream distributors and retailers, and to the green media including business news, consumer publications, bloggers and trendspotters. This normally requires a major investment in target marketing, list development, message crafting and media placement.”
The author says most green start-up businesses simply don’t have the budget to compete on the level of a Proctor & Gamble or a General Motors, and don’t have the resources to cut through traditional, clutter-clogged media channels. “But luckily for green business, there is another way to reach Main Street America and that way is The Gort Cloud.”
In the process of documenting the marketing and brand building experiences of these leading green businesses, the author discovered that all of his subjects were using personal relationships within the green community to build their brands. As Seireeni explains, “to test their products, they were using connections with green academics, NGOs and certifying agencies. To source raw materials, they were networking with green technology firms and sustainable resource suppliers. When it came time to look for investors, they found them within the green investment community. And when they were ready to sell, they found distributors, wholesalers, retailers and end users among the environmentally aware.”
But how is this type of networking any different to traditional networking? “Nothing in this world is new,” the 30-year design and brand building veteran states. “It’s all a matter of degree and evolution. Word of mouth . . . viral marketing . . . networking . . . have been around since man built cities. So while the means are the same, the technology for delivering network messages has evolved. And of course, the mission – in the case of The Gort Cloud – is new: to save what’s left of the environment we have known as a species.”
And that’s a message and mission that can no longer be invisible.