Yahoo for a better planet

Erin Carlson – Director, Yahoo! For Good, Yahoo! Inc

This presentation, for me, was a great example of how a mainstream property can make sustainability work. Yahoo! Green is the most trafficked green website on the planet, billing themselves as the one stop shop for the Conscious Consumer. At a more visionary level, their goal is to inspire 600 million people to be green in their daily lives, and may be one of the few media prpoperties left with enough reach to do so. Likewise for marketers, Yahoo!s sheer traffic levels (hundreds of millions of hits daily) lets them offer a look at green consumer interest that few can match.

This wasn’t the core of Ms. Carlson’s talk, but I liked these bits, based on site visitor clicks on various articles and features.
1. People don’t want to hear about doom & gloom. Positive stories draw better.
2. Don’t rely on celebrities. People are suspicious of the ‘backroom deal’. The example given for this was a story on Brad Pitt’s New Orlean’s housing efforts was dwarfed by the story of a 7-year old in Topeka selling reusable shopping bags for charity.
3. Optimistic sustainable innovations and suirprises get great response. Like this article on the air-powered car.

They have also had success integrating their products and services with inspirational programs like ‘Be a better planet!’ (finding and rewarding America’s greenest city or town) using Yahoo! Mobile Service. And because of their frequency of use, they can readily capitalize on spikes in green consumer interest, like Earth Day.

At the end of it all, I asked Ms. Carlson if Yahoo! had a sustainable-consumer interest-monitoring service that marketers could tap into in real-time. She replied that they did not. Take that one for free, Yahoo! For Good.

One in a series of articles on Lorne’s Sustainable Journey to the Sustainable Brands 08 Conference in Monterey CA. Click here for the full list of sessions, or here for the ‘Fear & Loathing’ road trip journals.

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