Inner Fashionista, Marketing for Thought

Spring’s hottest look: Green Fashion

Discussing Levi’s current Water<less green campaign in class a couple weeks ago

It turns out that they aren’t the only ones trying to reduce their carbon footprint and go green.  H&M’s green clothing line H&M Conscious clothing line that launched in 2012 offers pieces made with sustainable materials such organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled wool, recycled plastic, and organic linen.  Yet, the Conscious line holds true to the H&M name- super-cute, in-trend, high-end styles with a low price point and a quick turnover rate.  

H&M

H&M’s Conscious Exclusives Collection, Spring 2013

Their commitment to making sustainability an integral part of the fashion industry spans deeper than just their Conscious line.  CEO Karl-Johan Persson’s goal is to make it a central point of their future business model.

“Our business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price. Sustainability is an increasingly important part of this. I strongly believe that sustainability will more and more become a hygiene factor in our industry. Our goal is for H&M to be at the forefront of sustainability. We work hard to always strengthen our customer offering. I think that adding sustainable value to our products is one of the keys to do so.” –  Karl-Johan Persson, H&M CEO

The line recently expanded this spring, introducing a more formal look called The Spring Conscious Exclusives Collection.  These pieces became available online April 4 and several celebrities including Ashley Benson, Victoria Justice, Jessica Lowndes and Jessica Stroup hosted parties across the country to promote the new line.

Beyond the eco-friendly clothes themselves, H&M has implemented other strategies to ensure the success of this line and the betterment of the environment.

H&M Conscious also acts as a service where customers can bring in old, unwanted clothes in return for 15% off any item in the store.  Ninety-five percent of all clothes that people throw away could be used again, and H&M is making this possible while reducing landfills. For every pound of clothing donated, H&M CharityStar donates one cent to a charity in that store’s location.

Celebrity promotion and endorsements are leading the sustainability initiatives to success. Not only is the face of the brand French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, but iconic celebrities including Amanda Seyfried, Michelle Willimas, and Helen Hunt have been photographed wearing pieces from the lin on the red carpet, including the Oscars.

Going back to marketing basics, you need to give consumers what they want in order to succeed.  Maybe green marketing initiatives in the past haven’t worked because they weren’t what the consumer was looking for, or maybe it wasn’t a big enough change. Douglas L. Melville, president of Red Carpet Runway and a strategic adviser for various entertainment brands and personalities, wrote in his article “Why Green Marketing is Doomed” that people did not understand that Frito Lays’ eco-friendly bag helped save the environment and that’s why they weren’t willing to sacrifice a noisier bag for a worthy cause.   I doubt that it was their lack of understanding or awareness that turned them away from the bag.

We are led by our wants and needs, and at that point in time maybe people weren’t ready to “sacrifice” their quiet snack time for the environment. H&M’s strategic clothing collection does not only help our environment and local charities, but it provides a service that is easy and of interest to consumers today.  They aren’t just shoving a green movement in their consumer’s face- they are offering lifestyle changing products consistent with their image and a service that will help them improve the environment.

 

This post is a part of a series of posts for Integrated Marketing Communications class that explores strategies of integrated marketing communications and recognizes strong and weak branding strategies today.

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