Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wildwood vs. Silk?

I've continued to reflect upon my conversation with Allen@Wildwood of Wildwood Foods. Allen told me that they only sell what consumers will buy. And what customers want to buy is convenience. For Wildwood Foods, this means offering customers plastic fitments on their soymilk containers. So what'll happen if Wildwood Foods eliminates those plastic fitments from their containers? Will customers abandon this company in favor of their competitor, Silk, because it's more convenient to have a plastic fitment on soymilk containers?

Maybe, but not necessarily. It's all a matter of framing (and some creativity).

Here's an idea: What if Wildwood Foods got rid of those plastic fitments and redesigned their containers to be eco-friendly? They could even add an eco-friendly logo on their containers to promote this redesign. Better yet, Wildwood Foods could have a cute slogan telling customers how they're helping to save the environment by eliminating unnecessary waste in their packaging.

Ok, so let's say Wildwood redesigned their product to be 100% eco-friendly. And suppose you were at the supermarket wanting to buy soymilk. Would you buy the Wildwood brand that no longer has the plastic fitment, but endorses the protection of our oceans and planet with this eco-friendly container, OR would you go with Silk, the competitor brand that offers the convenience of having a plastic fitment on their containers?


Anonymous said...

I would be a loyal Wildwood customer if they switched to more ecological packaging.

Experimentaholic said...

I can live without fitments. I don't even like the word fitment. I can live with the old school, grade school-like milk containers that you have to open the old fashion way. Call me a luddite, but I am okay with opening milk cartons the old fashion, reto way.

Meghan said...

I think we all know what WE would do - we being the people reading your blog. And I'd venture to guess that most, if not all Wildwood customers would stick with them. What I wonder is, what would the general public do? Apply this situation to a big dairy company. Say they get rid of the "fitments" to be a bit more eco-friendly. Does John Doe stick with them? Or is the general public still so reliant on convenience that they are totally willing to punish green changes? I'm guessing it'd be split, with the majority going to convenience. And I'm guessing that's what your buddy Allen is worried about. (Hmmm, I appear to be in my pessimistic mood today. I'll go get another cup of coffee!)

Michelle Verges said...

Meghan, You raise a good point. I've been thinking about your comment and about how to market "green" products to the general public, who may (or may not) care about environmental issues.

Basically, I think these products need to appeal to people's egos (and vanity). People want to look sharp these days, whether it's wearing hip clothes or driving cool cars to show-off their status and attractiveness.

This approach reminds me of the marketing strategy used by Anya Hindmarch. (She is the fashion designer of the "I'm not a plastic bag" cloth bag). Hindmarch has generated a fashion frenzy by creating a limited amount of these bags.

So maybe marketing eco-friendly products should be revamped to be "ego" friendly, too. By appealing to one's ego, as well as to the environment, marketing green products in this manner may generate a win-win situation for everyone.


intheocean said...

for the general public who may or may not care about the environment, it really doesnt matter what the fitment is made of, it's a matter of convinience. if the new container is still as convinient as the old with the plastic fitment, then their existing customers will not go away.

plus Wildwood might be able to catch the other portion of customers who might care about the environment or about looking like the care, which doesnt really matter as long as they continue to choose wisely.

as long as the redesign of the box does not come with an increase of the price, i dont see any bad coming from it.