Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Catching Up, Fishing & Book Title

I've been enjoying 24 hours away from the book; it's with publisher and a number of you to read (new batch about to be sent out, if you are waiting, just need to get on the other computer).

Welcome to anybody who has joined from the Bookseller's Association conference (or the BookInvolver's Association as I suggested they rename themselves), which is where I was on Monday. The views from the train from York to Harrogate were breathtaking - hence choice of pic. Editing a book on the train is particularly productive, I may start working that way more often, it might be cheaper than renting a London office too. Only kidding - I know carbon footprint etc. - but its amazing how much better long distance trains have got in last ten years, little things like laptop power sockets really make a difference.

On to fishing... Fresh from the book, feeling released from endless editing (okay for a week or too) I have started to pursue some entreprenurial brand schemes which came out of the research for the book. The initial reaction has been very encouraging, plus I am already embarked upon ethical & environmental-relevant innovation projects with several major clients. I am just floating this and have already talked to two or three readers of the blog (you know who you are) but I am interested in getting to know potential collaborators with complementary skills to my own - eg coming at this from creative, management or CSR/NGO angles. Some of the schemes could look like pro bono cause campaigning (Andrew and I are still gunning for xmas and I am seeing a friend at a leading eco magazine on friday to - among other things - see if they want to be the 'client'/host). But most of them are serious commercial marketing programmes with a beautiful coincidence of social & environmental benefits. It might be a good reason to have one of those meetup style gatherings. But also I am location agnostic, I have got quite used to collaborating on projects with international teams from the States and elsewhere.

Update on videophone; it is brilliant within europe but absolutely pants if you are talking to someone in Brazil, at least when using Skype. we could barely hear each other, and had to switch to email. it was really nice at least to meet the people that way. I will have to test AIM/ichat long range and see if it is better.

Finally book title. Gareth Kay who read the previous draft en route to singapore raised the following point:
"The thought that is nagging me most is about the title and I know you have spent a lot of time thinking about this and getting thoughts on your blog. But the more I delved into the book and the more I thought about it the more the title felt too narrow. Yes, green is a big thing at the moment like it was in the late 80s and I sense the need to reframe what it means. But I wonder if the title may limit its appeal. To me, the book is much bigger. Its about a manifesto for common sense, a call for radical common sense in marketing. Unless we think about the effects of our actions on the environment and on people marketing will eat itself. Sustinability comes from finding a bigger purpose than making money-enthusiasm- and 'green' feels like a subset of the argument you make. My 2 cents for what its worth, and maybe fixed with a very juxtaposed cover image."

I'm at the stage when i could change the title, subject to persuading the publisher that an alternative was better. I'd have to do it soon though because we are about to start work on the cover and launch the title at least internally to their sales force.

Here are some options (titles & somewhat interchangeable subtitles so I'd like a view on both title & subtitle), just to get some feedback from my esteemed blog readers:

Ethical Environmental and Effective

A radical programme for values led marketing

Redefining marketing to meet the challenges of sustainability

Fresh approaches to green marketing (without greenwashing)

9 fresh approaches to green marketing (without greenwashing)

Marketing's crucial creative role in building a sustainable world

Open to more suggestions too of course.

If it's close there are advantages to the current title (link to my series of books, ready acceptance by book trade, the topicality of green) and there is a definite cost of a day of my life I would have to spend simply re-editing the text to reflect the new title. But if a job is worth doing then it's worth doing.

ps the title thing is kind of crucial and urgent so if anybody felt the urge to blog and link or email inviting others to help with extra views on just this, it would be great too. they dont have to know the book, because the fresh impression as in a bookshop is just as relevant. And there arent that many book titles in history that have been decided/shaped by blog after all. :J


Angus said...

My vote goes for:

Fresh approaches to green marketing (without greenwashing)

Rock'n'roll & Advertising said...

I'm almost with Angus:

Fresh approaches to green and values led marketing

Andrew Smart said...

I have to say, I have had a similar nagging feeling about 'green'. I like for it's simplicity but I agree it has a slight 90's after taste. Well, now someone's been brave enough to post, I guess I'll join the debate with my offereing:

Marketing's crucial creative role in building a sustainable world.

The radical rethink needed to create sustainable behaviour.

Marketing's crucial creative role in building a sustainable world.

Generally speaking, I like the more ballsy versions of the title. Don't think you should focus on Greenwashing at all. It could be misconstrued as being slightly apologetic. Just be positive.

Ben Rowe said...

I like sense and sustainability. Now, Sustainable marketing, Green Marketing, and Manifesto are all too commonplace...

I think this is going to be a breakthrough book, so don't water it down with marketing buzzwords du jour.

Phil said...

Beautiful Coincidences is by far the most memorable and intriguing title.


Beautiful Coincidences: Sustainability and the rise of Green Marketing.

John Grant said...

very helpful, please everyone do keep thoughts coming; I'm also flagging this discussion to publisher so you are right at the heart of the real debate on what to call this

just to add the previous voices on this in an earlier discussion:

and Fran argued quite cogently that for csr people 'green marketing' (=1980s bandwagon) could be a turn off, on brandtarot too

john dodds said...

I think Marketing has to be in there, I don't think greenwashing should be and I'm not keen on the idea of a subtitle.

The Sustainable Marketing Manifesto is good but I worry that sustainable

1) reeks of tofu and sandals and will immediately make it appear a niche book

2) has an existing dictionary meaning which might suggest long-term marketing rather than marketing sustainable products/services.

Same thing applies to Ethical.

The ideal would be The Something Marketing Manifesto but for now and maybe forever I cannot come up with that word without returning to Green which I accept is also imperfect.

Charles Frith said...

Radical common sense


James Parr said...

Sustainable Marketing sounds about as fun as Direct Mail (sorry).

I love 'Beautiful Coincidences', but it is a little too whimsical perhaps?

I see the logic in sticking to 'manifesto'; but it is perhaps antithical to the subject? I feels like there has to be some reward for reading; something like:

"1 + 1 = 3"
How green marketing creates new value

"The Green Marketing Playbook"
Get ethical, evironmental and more effective

"The transparent persuaders"
How marketing is changing in the era of Green

How green marketing will change the world

(you know I like that one; American market will lap it up :)

"Whiter than white"
A manifesto for green Marketing

(that last one was a joke, I should go home now :)
-churning through latest draft!


john dodds said...

Playbook is good, but perhaps too American for your publishers.

Does The Green Marketing Guide sound too insipid?

Raimo said...



(I sell you the term hehe)




Here one a bit more creative:


Raimo said...

Just thought of another one:

From "what?" to "why?" marketing

John Grant said...

overnight thoughts on name

Ethical, Environmental and Effective really quite good (not perfect)

Fresh approaches to green and values led marketing too long/complicated/worthy/ lost in a list of 100s of books with the s-word in the title
I just look at it on a page and dont warm to it

The other contender that appeals to me most is

How sustainability and marketing can work together

Also here are two new ones for consideration that came from me starting at the contents page and thinking hard about 'what idea am I really trying to launch by publishing this book':

How marketing can make sustainability intuitive

Turning sustainability into common sense

Names are so subjective anyway (one lesson is that nearly everone commenting had different ideas/favourites & I am obviously also just a sample of one) but thank you everyone and please do keep the comments coming we're finding this all incredibly helpful.

We might move to a shortlist friday & even a vote? But lets keep just stewing it for another day. There's more people I have asked for a view yet to comment and you may have overnight thoughts too :J

John Grant said...

Helping Sustainability Become Common Sense really growing on me

1. it may pass the John Dodds test; you are looking for something on marketing and all this green stuff, the title will grab you as relevant

2. but it gets me off the hook with those for whom green marketing is leading to green washing, or is back to the 1990s

3. it is a key poiunt of the book, making green stuff so normal it isnt even seen as green just common sense

4. it passes the news test; why this book should be interesting in a newspaper and not just a trade journal, it describes a new phase, when making green stuff seem normal is the challenge

5. it connects with many detailed points in the book;
avoid green washing;
avoid green cliches like the great outdoors, seals and even the colour green;
products being sold on durability, price, luxury, health etc. not 'greenness';
sustainability as a broader-than-green agenda
new memes such as carbon, fairtrade;
the new marketing strategies (which are post-) like collaboration, tribes and market development;
the often technological (eg web 2.0) opportunities to innovate;
the need for trojan horses, ideas which make green products and habits seem normal

6. it has a little enigma or paradox

7. it is quite simple


James Parr said...

overnight test... POST-GREEN has the intrigue factor; not hugely viral? (but more exciting than sustainability). Here's some more random coffee-starved thoughts to add to the pot!




The new greening of marketing (cathartic?)

The NEW MARKETING METAMORPHISIS (forget the green stuff)

Should really do some work now.


Raimo said...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful Coincidence ... without a doubt!!! The depth of meaning ...
Wow! It takes my breath away.

I would pick that up upon viewing the words ... straight to the heart - of our humanity, our longing, yearning and striving (what fills our minds and our time)

The message and essentialness will be divulged within... how this is (we are) all connected ...