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Many products have been using nature as their background and environmental claims as a way of saving and helping their environment and address environmental issues. Van der Ryn & Cowan (2007) defines ecodesign as “any form of design that minimizes environmentally destructive impacts by integrating itself with the living process.” Popa & Petrovici (2014) stated that the principles of ecodesign are closely related with green marketing, with both topics focused in advocating sustainability and knowledge of the rules and laws regarding ecological security. Ecodesign, with the nature aesthetics and ecological issues, directs a clear message of wanting to save Mother Earth.
Cherian & Jacob (2012) stated that there had been a steady growth in green marketing over the years with the adoption of product packaging and its publicity to the consumers. From product packaging to advertisements, advertisers are now going for green advertising. As defined by Rahim, et al. (2012), green advertising are advertisements that promote products, services, ideas or organizations” ability to help or reduce environmental harm
Because of their genuine interest in helping Mother Earth, many countries are going green in lifestyle, campaigns, and advertisements.
According to a survey by Beinhocker, et. al. (2007), as cited by Fernando, et. al. (2014), Cherian & Jacob (2012), 87% of people from different countries such as US, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, China, India, and the UK, express their interest in helping reduce the impact on the environment. Numerous companies are releasing green advertisements in a hope to move people to do something. Rahim, et al. (2012) mentioned in their study that with a vision to make ‘Green Malaysia’ a reality, the Prime Minister of Malaysia launched the Green Technology Policy where they had strict implementations in promoting the green environment concept.
One of which is to increase public awareness through advertisements. In the Philippines, many companies and NGOs, even the government, are trying to raise public awareness through advertisements and PSAs being scattered online. Many people are opting to buy more natural products upon seeing advertisements. More companies are trying to promote their environment friendly products through green advertising.
Over the course of the years, marketers started leaning towards the green market to promote the importance and health of the environment. This type of advertising was developed especially because environmental protection has become a subject that can no longer be ignored by the economic operators, thus green-media and eco-marketing are being permanently broadcasted and delivered to the public in creative and original stylistic forms (Popa & Petrovici, 2014). They added that it must suggest the product’s ecological traits and sensitize the audience regarding environmental issues.
However, people tend to have a wrong notion on green products. Stolz et al. (2010) stated that aside from the occasional unavailability of organic products, there is a lack of trust and awareness on organic food, and the price is premium compared to regular products. Consumers always have this initial perception that expensive price comes with organic and natural products. There are still people who don’t buy green products even if they consider themselves as environmental enthusiasts. Consumers will probably not purchase a product because it is green but it must also contain a benefit such as safety, health, or cost efficiency. People will not sacrifice product characteristics such as convenience, availability, price, quality, and performance in place of green or eco-friendly characteristics (Lu & Bock, 2013; Vermillion & Peart, 2010).
People tend to misjudge green products without knowing that for them to connect with the brand is through their advertisements. Advertisements reflect the personality of a brand. Brand personality traits are formed and influenced by any direct or indirect contact that the consumer has with the brand (Ouwersloot & Tudorica, 2001). As advertisements have the direct contact with the consumers, advertising can help create brand personality as long as the product presented in the advertisement is connected to the brand itself.
Brands have their own personalities to which consumers can relate with based on their own preferences, traits, and perceived product images (Lin, 2010). Having a strong and distinct brand personality plays a vital role in forming favorable attitudes towards the brand and enlarging the brand equity (Seimiene & Kamarauskaite, 2014). As brand have their own personalities, consumers may treat them as real humans, developing a strong connection with them.
Brand personality can be defined as the specific set of meanings that describes the “inner” characteristics of a brand (Seimiene & Kamarauskaite, 2014). According to Aaker (2010), brand personality perception of consumers can be changed by any direct or indirect experience that consumers have with the brand. Direct experiences can be the endorsers of the brand, the company’s employees or CEO, and other users of the brand while indirect experiences are associations with the brand attributes such as name, logo, way of communication, colors, package, price, advertising style, communication, logistic of the product.
Brand personality mainly comes from three sources: the first one is the association consumers have with a brand, secondly, the image a company tries hard to create, for example using an advertising spokesperson to create a corporate image, and the third is about the product attributes, for example product categories and distribution channels (Lin, 2010).
Aaker (1997, as cited in Vazifehdoost & Hamedani, 2016) undertakes a comprehensive and extensive study that categorizes brand personality dimensions by investigating the types of personalities people endow brands with. She finds that the “Big Five” personality dimensions (openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) can be adapted to brand management. She found out that brands can be positioned on the basis of human qualities, such as sincerity (e.g., honest, down-to-earth), excitement (e.g., trendy, cool), competence (e.g., intelligent, hard-working), sophistication (e.g., good-looking, glamorous), and ruggedness (e.g., tough, masculine). Maehle, Otnes and Supphellen (2011) conducted a study to further develop the idea and claimed that brands named as strong on specific personality dimensions have characteristics related not just with a product: sincere brands share family-related associations and high morals, exciting brands are related to special exciting occasions and moments, competent brands are mostly associated with quality and expertise, sophisticated brands are usually of feminine nature, and rugged brands are of masculine one. Brand personalities, defined as human characteristics associated with a brand, are an important element of the image for brands such as Gap (sincere), Adidas (exciting), Apple (competent), Cartier (sophisticated), and Harley-Davidson (rugged). Those that forward their own advocacy fall under the sincere personality of brand, including products that are for the preservation of nature and uses natural materials.
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