The BBC reports on Apple’s plans to make “greener” products. Steve Jobs statement is a direct response to the almost perfectly pitched and pithily web 2.0 Greenmyapple campaign from Greenpeace (which also won the activism Webby on Tuesday). I wrote earlier this year about how it uses the weight of the brand to intensify the pressure.
What is interesting about this is also how it demonstrates lessons for combining online campaigning with face to face work. Greenmyapple harnessed the passion and creativity of apple customers to add pressure whilst also talking directly to the company. And they made the campaign personal both online and offline, (adding pressure to a particularly pertinent member of the Apple Board, Al Gore). Again the response was personal, directly from the man at the top. As campaign insider Brian Fitzgerald puts it
There aren’t many campaigns where the CEO of your target steps out and responds directly to your demands….This has been a tremendous confirmation of the power of consumer campaigning.
Reaction has been good for Apple, Macnn may have blunty said Apple Surrendered but approves of what’s happening, ecorazzi has it as one small step but a good one. But there has been grumbling about Greenpeace. Over at Ecogeek some comments suggest this is more to do with Apple’s competitors going green than the campaign, Slashdot grumpily dismissed the quality of the Greenpeace campaign and this translates the subtext of the Steve Jobs letter.
All that aside I’m impressed, and echo Green Business which writes realistically about the efforts companies will make to protect their brand by aligning with public opinion. And if you check the tags below you’ll see just how many individual and business brands were under pressure.
Good campaigning is about sensing these pressures and then applying your own – it’s also about being realistic and gracious in (half) “victory”. Congratulations Greenpeace.
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What a load of nonsense. Greenpeace, through a misleading and mischevious campaign, has got Apple to “admit” that it already has processes in place which leave most of their competition for dead – something that many of us already new before the “announcement”.
What is the achievement in that? I suspect that Greenpeace’s campaign ahs actually resulted in some purchasers heading off to other, much “dirtier” purchasers. Goodness knows how much lead will end up in third world landfills as a result.
This was an ill-conceived campaign which has produced no real results at all.
Greenpeace should think long and hard about entering into similar charades in futrure if it really cares about the consequences of its actions.
Thanks, Podnosh. I hope that other groups can use this example in their own face to face work with corporates, as a, shall we say, cautionary tale. I’ve seen a half dozen other examples where consumer pressure has delivered a demand that face to face negotiations failed to, and really the position we want to get to is one where you can win without going to war. If corporates do the math on what they put into positive associations for their brand versus what it costs to do the right thing ecologically or socially, it begins to drive them to factor in a potential brand damage cost for bad behaviour — which is the beginning of a capitalism that reflects real costs and the entire bottom line.