Wine Drinkers Care about Sustainability

The only known nationwide statistical sample of wine drinkers investigating sustainability shows that 89% of wine drinkers care about the environment.

Here are some key findings from the report:

• What is the percentage of wine drinkers who care about impact on the environment? It’s actually higher than the general population! 89% of the wine drinkers are “consumers who care” compared to slightly lower (85%) of the general population. “Consumers Who Care” are consumers that consider the environment when making at least some of their purchases.

• What are the most important claims to influence wine purchases? The second highest factor is surprising, which is “treat employees well.”

• What is the percentage of wine drinkers that say it’s worth paying more to support sustainable wineries? It is higher than you think.

• What are the similarities and differences between “Super premium buyers” (buy wine on average more than $16 per bottle and 11% of the respondents) and “premium buyers” (buy wine on the average more than $11 per bottle and 33% of the respondents)? … between “frequent wine drinkers” (drink wine once a day or a few times a week and are 39% of the respondents) and others on their interest and motivations with sustainability and organic factors?

• What are the differences between regions and demographics in their interest in sustainability? Again, you might be surprised.

The report provides the actionable insight on what sustainability means to customers and how it may impact their purchase decisions. Based on this insight, wineries can determine which sustainability practices are most important to wine drinkers. The report can help companies decide how to target wine drinkers and assist wineries their positioning and messaging.

The study was fielded and compiled by the experienced EcoFocus Worldwide as part of their national trend survey. It is a statistical sample of almost 700 respondents. The report price is only $1900.

Contact Kathy Cox at 425-822-3925 or kathy@marketingphilharmonic.xom


Good, Better, Best: Keeping your company and what you eat and drink at the right temperature

While many public companies create CSR reports to improve their investment status, private companies enhance their sustainability practices to improve their image and value both internally and externally which in turn enhances their brand equity and long term growth. The makers of the brand icons of Stanley Thermos and Aladdin containers, Pacific Market International (PMI), recently published their first Corporate Social Responsibility report earning a GRI A rating.


PMI is the manufacturer and designer of the iconic, Aladdin® and Stanley® brands which provide innovative food and beverage solutions for busy lifestyles. PMI has worked for years on establishing benchmarks to measure their objectives in social and environmentally responsible behaviors. In 2009, PMI took this a step further by completing its first comprehensive CSR report. Valerie Bone, PMI’s Director of Corporate Responsibility headed the effort using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as the framework and guidance from the Network of Business Innovation Sustainability (NBIS). For a first year effort, PMI had a huge accomplishment on transparency. GRI verified the PMI declaration of an A level of transparency. Only 8% of the 175 companies that registered with GRI reported at an A level.

Valerie and the CSR report team had to calculate and measure all aspects of PMI’s business including their J/V manufacturing facility in China.

These were the steps PMI took to develop their standards that lead to their comprehensive CSR report:

1. Buy-in from the Senior Leadership Team: Senior Management believes that doing right makes good business sense. Specific values are articulated and shared with the whole company. While not a step in writing the report, the values are the pillar of the how the company operates.
2. Create specific objectives: Specific objectives are essential in establishing measurements and making progress.
3. Develop tracking systems: For 10 years, PMI has been building the tools to track the factors that affect their objectives such as measuring KPIs for Code of Conduct compliance and environmental improvement.
4. Develop product with full lifecycle planning in mind
5. Consider third party certifications
6. Implement third party audits which started in 2001
7. Partner with their customers and suppliers to improve environmental standards
8. Provide opportunities to employees for volunteer work
9. Build presence as a leader by speaking and participating in like-minded trade groups


PMI’s effort took the step towards a better result by posting the report on their website. The thirty-one page report is full of charts and descriptions of their objectives, how they are meeting them and what the next steps are.

Not only is the report rich with information but it is beautifully presented with imagery of their products, their people, and their production facilities. The design was completed by Rhizome Design. The facts and figures are clearly represented to show the progress PMI has made in reaching its objectives.


PMI has plans to write future reports on their progress towards their long term goals. This year PMI is working on building systems so their department managers can more easily communicate and track their CSR measurements. “We don’t want to stop with one report. We want continual improvement and we can only do that with the participation of all of our departments, ” said Valerie Bone.

As a marketer who believes in integration and stakeholder engagement to reach objectives in impacting image and brand, these are my recommendations to take the excellent PMI efforts to the next steps.

• Create a stakeholder engagement strategy. Some examples of tactics that could be developed are:
o Develop a section on the PMI website for the public to submit ideas on how PMI or users of PMI products could make even more progress in CSR.
o Develop a separate idea and Q&A tool for internal staff and channel customers.
o Publicize the use of Facebook and Twitter on the PMI and brand website
• Establish PMI as a CSR thought leader with the public by discussing PMI’s CSR efforts in such tactics as:
o A Facebook fan page
o Twitter
o A company blog
o Speaking engagements especially with the channel target in mind
o Media expert status
o Media outreach
• Integrate the CSR messaging with product packaging such as describing work with overseas factories on CSR goals.

Congratulations to PMI for their continued business success while adhering to their high standards.

Message to Seventh Generation: Seven rules not to break

I have always admired Seventh Generation’s strong environmental mission and its consistent brand communication through its “Protecting Planet Home” campaign and numerous other channels. A recent challenge by P&G showed the vulnerability of the Seventh Generation position.

Proctor & Gamble challenged a Seventh Generation commercial that they said implied Seventh Generation products did not contain hazardous chemicals and were all natural referenced in an article on While I do not have the details to know whether P&G’s claims were valid, in the National Advertising Division (NAD) review they found P&G and Seventh Generation’s products contain hazardous chemicals and that Seventh Generation refrain from making false claims that their products are all natural. While a child cleaned with a Seventh Generation product the commercial announcer said “no one holds their breath while cleaning” and also said “people everywhere are saying no to hazardous chemicals…and yes to a safe and naturally effective way to clean”.

While the NAD’s decision is not binding, Seventh Generation removed the commercial.

So here are the seven lessons Marketing Philharmonic recommends Seventh Generation should consider in light of the hand slap from the NAD.

1. Brand is more what you do and not what you say
While Seventh Generation has shouted from the rooftops on how they are saving our planet and our health from hazardous chemicals, the presumed lapse on their commitment shows more than all of their rhetoric.
2. 100% upfront and honest
When you take a high-road position, a company needs to be a complete open book. All ingredients should be listed on the packaging clearly with explanations for each. So if any of their products contain any hazardous chemicals, those ingredients need to be clearly identified with the reason why they are there.
3. Admit your mistakes
Instead of admitting their mistake, they justified their taking the video that it had “run its course”. We could not find any responses to the situation on their web site or in press releases. The public can understand if they may have had a slight lapse in their mission against hazardous chemicals but it is harder to understand hiding.
4. Pedestals can be dangerous
When you take a strong stand, it hurts more when you get knocked down (just ask Toyota). While we often recommend that a company take a strong category position, especially when no one is dominant in that category, you have to be careful to not have hyperbole. People understand that it may take time for a company to make all the changes to reach its lofty mission. Seventh Generation did not communicate that clearly. Instead they implied they proclaim their products are already “healthy and safe” .
5. Define Natural
Natural has not been clearly defined and non-regulated. If you use the word “natural’ it might be better to define it clearly such as being plant derived. On the other hand, using 100% natural or all natural is stronger than just “natural” since consumers realize just some of the ingredients could be natural. If it is not all natural then it needs to be clearly stated what is not and why.
6. Big Boys Watch
While Seventh Generation is a small player in the overall cleaning product category, natural cleaning products are a growing category. Thus, the big players, such as Proctor and Gamble, will be watching your every move. Also there are many passionate anti-toxic chemicals proponents that are watching too.
7. Be consistent
This is Seventh Generation’s boilerplate description:
“Seventh Generation is committed to being the most trusted brand of household and personal-care products for your living home. Our products are healthy and safe for the air, the surfaces, the fabrics, the pets, and the people within your home — and for the community and environment outside of it.”
Seventh Generation seems to be inconsistent on being safe. While they chastised chemicals in their promotions, the NAD said Seventh Generation agreed they do include some hazardous chemicals. If you want to be trusted it is much easier to be positive than attacking. So, they can say “you can breathe easier with their products” rather than saying you have to “hold your breath” while cleaning with any other products.

As an asthma sufferer, I personally am concerned how artificial chemicals affect our health so I often bought Seventh Generation products. After reviewing detergent packaging, I noticed a brand that said 100% natural and clearly identified ingredients while Seventh Generation’s packaging was not clear. So I switched. So Seventh Generation has one customer that has changed their mind about their believability on their proclaimed mission to eliminate chemicals.

Marketing Planning for Non-profits (or for anyone else for that matter)

I was asked to submit this to a reporter. Thought I would share this with my readers.

Five Most Important Steps for Non-Profits to consider:

1. Understanding the Board’s needs: What are the personal motivations of the volunteer board? Since most non-profits are headed and run by volunteers, it is important to understand the personal motivations and objectives of the leadership. It is important to understand how to keep your valuable volunteer leaders and ensure your mission incorporates their interests.
2. Agreeing on the long term vision: What are the long term goals of the organization? This is often called the “BHAG” or big hairy-a$#ed goal”. What does your organization aspire to be? In 10 years, what does your organization what to be known for? All your short-term objectives and strategies should lead toward your long-term vision.
3. Developing your positioning: Your positioning is where you derive all of your strategies. It helps define you and direct you for your optimum returns. Your positioning defines:
a. What you are
b. Who you are for
c. Why you are different
d. How that matters to your target
4. Setting specific short term objectives and strategies: Now your leaders can develop measureable short-term objectives and strategies that lead to your long-term vision and supports the positioning. The objectives should be measurable and specific so they are trackable in a timely manner. Monthly targets are the most typical. Strategies are then developed to reach those objectives.
5. Establishing Tactics, budgets, and Dashboards: Each tactic, budget and action steps needed to accomplish each strategy are then developed. The top executive and financial executive along with any other key members deemed necessary put the budget requests together to ensure they meet the overall organizations goals. The entire board then agrees to that budget. These measureable tactics and budgets are then used in dashboards. Dashboards are regular reports on the key objectives for the leadership to be accountable for. These dashboards are a key component of the communication to help each board member to understand the status of the organization and to see how their responsibilities fit within the whole team.

Benefits of writing a marketing plan
1. Energizing your team: When your team is on the same page and working on reaching their own personal goals, the team is energized in accomplishing their objectives.
2. Easier decision making: If the team is clear on their objectives and positioning, it is easier to make decisions on new initiatives. If the initiative does not fit into the plan and the positioning then the new initiative does not move forward.
3. Efficiency: When team members are clear on what they are supposed to do and have helped create their plan, then each member can work more efficiently. There are less questions and more doing.
4. Accountability: Especially with volunteers, it can be difficult to get commitment and have them be accountable. By measuring and reporting the planned objectives and tasks, team members are more likely to accomplish their tasks needed to reach the objectives.

Puget Sound Chapter of the American Marketing Association (PSAMA) Success in a tough economic year

1. Surpassed core luncheon meeting attendance from previous year’s average.
2. Increased membership from the previous year
3. Tripled attendance at our annual marketing conference
4. Retained more than 80% of the executive board members for next year’s board

Holiday VIP Celebration

Do you have customers, clients, management team members, or employees you want give a special holiday treat? For a great value, a musician friend of mine has a special gift for your favorite customers or team members while getting prominent recognition. Geoffrey Castle, world renowned electric violinist, lifts Celtic influenced music to the 21st century. His 3rd Annual Celtic Christmas Celebration on Thursday, December 17th at the Kirkland Performance Center includes special guests Alan White (drummer for Yes, and John Lennon), Beth Quist (from Cirque du Soleil), the award-winning Comerford Irish Dancers, Santa Claus, and more. Please contact me today to get your VIP package. The deadline is November 18th to have your logo included in the poster. You can read more about Geoffrey Castle at

VIP Package: $500 (Limited availability)
Four tickets to the Celtic Christmas Celebration
A special Meet and Greet with Geoffrey Castle and the other artists
Four copies of the “Underhill’s Angel” CD
Sponsorship recognition in all communication about the event including email, Facebook, posters, media releases, and live mention at the event to the 400 audience members.
Fifty dollar donation to Music Aid Northwest which raises funds for music education in schools

Signature Sponsor Package: $3000 (Only one available)
Eight tickets to the Celtic Christmas Celebration
A special Meet and Greet with Geoffrey Castle and the other artists
Eight copies of the “Underhill’s Angel” CD
A private concert at your home or office
Sponsorship recognition in all communication about the event including email, Facebook, posters, media releases, and live mention at the event to the 400 audience members.
Mentions on the KMPS radio advertising
Lead prominence on all communication as the Signature Sponsor
One Hundred dollar donation to Music Aid Northwest which raises funds for music education in schools

Energize your team with planning

A room full of people and the largest September in more than six years. Energy in the air. Smiling board volunteers. Real tangible results of double the attendance average. What a treat! After working on a volunteer basis for dozens of hours, I got to see the first results of the planning process at Seattle’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. The energy lit up the room at the Washington Athletic Club. After a tough year in a dismal year, we did what we tell our clients and bosses, started from scratch in our planning process. We did our due diligence, met to discuss our vision. And all this with time constraints, volunteers, and very little budget.

The plan had to have a consistent template to make it easy for our volunteer board. They had to make it their own but try to make it easy. We gave them the process, the vision, the follow-up and the enthusiasm to make a plan that they believed in.

The result was an energetic team ready to attack their year.

Most business people dread the planning process. Extra work, extra meeting, and extra hours on top of the everyday task load. Then it doesn’t seem rewarding since it seems no one ever refers back to it again.

Why do businesses need plans?

These are few of the reasons why you do plans. While planning is important in providing such benefits as a budget for measurability, taking time to analyzing new opportunities, outlining cost effective strategies rather than disjointed tactics, and efficient organization, the one most overlooked is to energize your team.

If you have the right process with easy-to-use tools and plenty of interaction to make the plan their own, plans can energize your team by giving them a clear consistent direction. Here are the steps we took at the PSAMA.

1. Puts everyone on the same page by understanding and listening to your customers and other stakeholders needs, your competition, and your entity’s strengths and weaknesses and the category’s threats and opportunities.
2. Openly discuss each team member’s personal objectives. If your company or organizations objectives don’t match personal objectives, success won’t be complete.
3. Gain consensus on the entity’s objectives both short-term and long-term vision.
4. Give them an easy –to-use planning template
5. Have them own their own plan by having your team complete the template
6. Review their plan to make it cohesive and to ensure it meets budget and overall entity objectives
7. Your team presents their own plan to the group
8. Build in a system for regular measurement tracking on completion of action items and reaching measurable objectives

We accomplished the plan that generated the exciting results and team energizing in just three team meetings. Don’t drag out the process. Gain consensus in the team meetings give your team the right tools and guidance, and then let your team own it.

It’s not what you do but who you are

Last night was an amazing testament to the power of community and the power of being the epitome of service. A UPS driver touched the lives of a Kirkland neighborhood.

Dear friends of ours hosted a party for the neighborhood UPS driver, Harold. For 21 years Harold has been delivering packages to the same Kirkland area route. He moved to a Seattle route on the day of his party. There were about fifty neighbors at the party honoring Harold.

Customers told stories about how they wished they ordered by mail just to be able to see Harold, how kids thought Harold was the giver of the gifts he delivered, and how he changed his routine to get a package delivered early in exchange for a breakfast. The most touching story was where a mother forgot to pick up her 8 year-old daughter at the bus stop. Harold contacted the father and drove out of his way to contact the mother to ensure the daughter was picked up.

Customers unable to make the party sent cards and gift certificates from their businesses including a free hotel stay. It takes a special person to break through the fast paced lives of ours to pay attention to the person who delivers packages. As one customer toasted Harold, “he is the epitome of service.”

This party gave such a great message. It isn’t what you choose to do with your life but how you treat others. While suburban society often measures success by how high you go up the ladder, the true sign of success is not what career you choose but how well you do it.

Harold has a wonderful family in a great neighborhood in Seattle with an amazing customer fan base that throws him a party. That is success.