Ever seen a travel website that aligns with environmental and social benefits? If not, take a look at the Planterra website. Planeterra is dedicated to sustainable tourism, and this comes through in the design. Once impressed, visitors can donate or subscribe with a click.
The principles support the brand, and the website supports the principles. The company is not only doing good; they're doing good smart, and the website is reflecting that.
Most green websites are not selling products. Often, these sites have a specific purpose, such as a policy issue or an education initiative. They're making an effort to affect change in the public arena.
Here again, the site requires more than a basic marketing strategy. The goal: to make the case for action more compelling. But how?
The answer is to adjust the strategy. Consider features that will help your visitors understand the issue. Sometimes, with a little bit of programming, you can create tools that make a better case.
For example, you can tell people how to conserve energy in order to cut emissions.
Or, you can make your argument more powerful: invite your visitors to use a tool that calculates their own potential emission reduction - the difference they can personally make. This hits closer to home. It's not theoretical, it's real.
In other words, showing is always more powerful than telling. This is why an interactive medium, like the web, has advantages over a passive medium, like television.
"In my experience, interactive tools speak louder than words. If you can demonstrate your message, rather than just say it, people will discover the meaning, rather than just learn it. This makes the message more meaningful and memorable."
This is exactly what we did for the City of Chicago's Department of Environment. Design of the websites, in this case, called for a little custom programming.
The department needed to promote the Chicago Climate Action Plan. With one eye on keeping it simple and one ear on the environmental experts, Orbit programmed a simple-to-use emissions calculator that shows people how they can make a difference, both in metric tons of CO2 and in dollars. Next we created the Chicago Green Office Challenge, which used similar tools in challenging businesses to reduce CO2 emissions.
So now we see the small but important differences between a green website and a typical marketing site. It's about making a strong case (often with custom features) and connecting it to the principles (often with design).
(We are always pleased to work on projects with a purpose)
Interested? We would be happy to share with you our experiences and help you understand the potential opportunities involved in achieving your goals.
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