Dear CMO:

No, not Lewis Green — I mean “green”, as in the last post. Consider this a quick post-it attached to the previous memo. Lewis’ comment spurred another thought that warranted a separate piece, so I wanted to share it.

The Fujitsu “biodegradable laptop” discussion is ripe for two approaches, both of which highlight the company’s positive environmental work and both of which refer back to the science of influence:

Contrast Phenomenon: we can change how anyone perceives anything when we control what we show them first. A PC manufacturer can’t easily position itself as “green” when the manufacture and disposal of its products are inherently polluting. However, it can make a strong case for positioning itself within the consumer electronics ecosystem. I’d probably roll my eyes if a PC maker cloaked themselves in green, but I’d be intrigued if one came forward with a statement that said they were the most environmentally conscious laptop provider in the industry. If my frame of reference for green is Waste Management or Whole Foods, you probably can’t convince me that Fujitsu belongs in the same group. But compared to other PC guys? Hey, you probably get my attention.

Authority: we gain a tremendous amount of credibility and trustworthiness when we point out what our detractors would gladly trumpet before they do. How would this work for you:

“The realities of modern life demand rapid product innovation — we all know this. Advances in processor speed, battery life, and seamless connectivity define how we live and work. The dark side of this new age is the need to dispose of a rapidly growing volume of “upgraded” products. Many obsolete devices end up in developing countries where they are broken down by hand, releasing harmful toxins into the environment, creating unsafe conditions for citizens in these communities. We’re committed not to contribute to this phenomenon as best we can. That’s why our environmental initiatives are built around responsible manufacture on one hand and a sponsored, closed system of product retirement on the other. We take responsibility of our products from cradle to grave.”

* * *

It isn’t always the content that matters the most. The context is what people understand and remember.

Regards, and thank you, Lewis, for pushing this point to the front!