Greenvestment Resource Center

The Gateway to Sustainable Investing

Situation: Just because you are green does not mean you do not care about the color of money. And just because you may care about money, does not mean you do not care about your values as you invest to build portfolio value. That is a lesson many independent financial advisors need to know. Our client, a leader in SRI (socially responsible investing), wanted to create a new division responsive to the needs of independent financial advisors. An information-rich, online center providing advisors with all the resources they need to get up to speed on SRI. Because this effort was web-based, we knew that electronic and collateral media were a vital part of getting this message across effectively.

Our Approach: As a B2B campaign, we knew we would have to fully understand the financial markets, investment lingo, and economic motivations we were working with. Brand development followed easily from this research. Our first task was to create a name for that division that would be unique, informational and educational. Here at Mind Over Markets, we love the notion that the “name is the claim”, and if appropriate, try to employ that notion when naming a company, service or product.

To do that, we coined a name that would belong uniquely to our client: Greenvestment Resource Center. And we created a branding line that would explain the services they provide: “The Gateway To Sustainable Investing”. We positioned the center as the first stop, and the portal into green and socially responsible investing.

Impact: This is another example of looking beyond the obvious to arrive at a message that sticks. It’s also an example of the importance of knowing who your customer is and what perceptions you have to intensify or change to make your message succeed. Knowing that the average broker sees SRI not from a growth perspective, but from a social or activist perspective, showed us where we had to go and what we had to do — reframing the opportunity for them in a way they hadn’t thought of. Greenvestment Resource Center is now the leading resource center for financial brokers interested in green investing and is in the #1 position on Google in this category.

Positive Energy Solar

It Pays to Be Positive

Situation: Solar is becoming cheaper and cheaper, and financing and installations are faster and easier than ever before. Yet there remains a misperception amongst consumers that solar is too expensive and too complicated to be easily implemented. Even with increasing interest in “going solar”, many customers have a hard time differentiating between the huge variety of products and installation designs that are on the market.

What’s more, through a series of interviews with existing customers, potential customers that did not choose Positive Energy Solar, and staff, we found out that their reputation and knowledge in the field exceeded their competition’s tenfold. But what stood in the way over and over was price. In spite of their new and highly competitive financing options, this perception lingered.

Our Approach: To break free from this, we cut to the heart of the matter with the branding campaign and tag line: “It Pays to Be Positive” and created a series of print advertisements and digital communications such as “See the Light!” and “Get the Sun Without the Burn”.

With a segmented market serving five very distinct geographic locations—Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces—we knew the ad campaign and media strategy would need to be diverse but also highly focused. Our local knowledge of the state was essential in crafting appropriate messaging for each region.

Impact: One month after this campaign hit the five markets, PES exceeded their lead generation goals and hit their solar installation capacity. A positive challenge to have.

BioShield Healthy Living Paints

Beauty without the Beast

Situation: At Mind Over Markets, our cardinal rule for all green marketing is to bring the message down to earth. This is particularly important in B2C transactions. For BioShield, a manufacturer of non-toxic, zero VOC paints and floor coverings, we knew that people buy paint first to beauty their home. The fact that their paints are non-toxic makes them even better. The dilemma however was that most consumers do not know the toxic load in everyday paints and home décor products. Education was key.

Our Approach: We redesigned and rewrote the entire BioShield consumer direct mail catalog and built in scientific, educational “Did you know?” phrases and elements that educated customers such as:

  • DID YOU KNOW a baby crawling on conventional carpet inhales the equivalent of four cigarettes a day?
    (Source: Scientific American Magazine)
  • DID YOU KNOW that EPA studies reveal that indoor air pollution is two to twenty times worse than outdoor air pollution even if you live in a heavily industrialized city?
    (Source: Environmental Protection Agency)
  • DID YOU KNOW that conventional paints, stains and finishes off-gas dangerous toxins into the air you breathe?

The ad campaign we built around these facts led to our branding line, “Beauty without the Beast”. Our line assured them that they could beautify their home without sacrificing their health, the health of their family, or the planet at large.

For BioShield’s line of children paints called KinderPaint, we created the campaign “There Really is a Monster in Your Child’s Room.” This monster wasn’t hiding in the closet or under the bed, but was on the walls, the floors, and often in a child’s bed. Instead of doom and gloom, we delivered this information in a playful way and using language moms and dads could relate to.

Impact: Relevancy is the name of the game. Our “Beauty without the Beast” ad campaign increased their sales by 62%.


Join the Growing Revolution!

Situation: Made from discarded glass from New Mexico landfills, Growstone is a breakthrough horticultural product. Their environmental story couldn’t be better. They take waste and repurpose it into high-performance growing mediums. They use no water in the production of their product. They prevent destructive strip-mining, unlike their competition. Even their kiln is fired using methane gas from the landfills.

Our Approach: One of the biggest blunders in green or sustainable communications is leading with the environmental message first without really knowing who your target audience is. This costly mistake has been made over and over, even (and especially) on Madison Avenue. Since Mind Over Markets has been entrenched in this market for over a decade, we know that most consumers do not buy products and services to save the planet. They buy them to serve their own needs first. It’s “Me first, planet later” for most of us, especially in these economically challenging times.

For Growstone, it was no different.

To learn more about what growers really wanted in a growing medium and what they thought about Growstones, we interviewed “high performance” hydroponic retail storeowners and asked them. It was no surprise that performance was #1 – but right behind that was the fact that Growstones were made from recycled glass. That combination made the product a winner.

Impact: From this effort, Mind Over Markets created a B2B “testimonial” campaign using the exact words of retailers and delivered it across multiple mediums – trade magazines, tradeshows, e-blasts, direct mail, social media and more. In one year, Growstones sales increased over 425% and today they are a rapidly growing player in the growing hydroponic and gardening market.

Our consumer effort focuses on Amazon and Facebook. Through continual engagement, relevant content and strategic planning, today Growstone Facebook page has over 40,000 fans —growing between 300-400 fans a week!


Situation: One of the most important issues in the business world today is the greening of the supply chain. That long trail of goods, services, and supplies that go into the manufacturing process from raw materials to manufacturing practices to packaging, delivery, and beyond. That was a fundamental issue for our client and our B2B campaign for PALNET, a national supplier of wooden shipping pallets, because pallets move almost everything that moves around the globe.

Our goal was to build awareness that PALNET‘s wooden pallets are the “sustainable and environmental choice” by emphasizing their natural greenness and earth-friendly manufacturing process.

Our Approach: Since many pallet customers today are under pressure to make significant changes in their supply chain to make it greener, the eco-advantages of wooden pallets became the key issues to promote and advance. Through direct marketing and a public relations campaign, we emphasized that PALNET pallets are made from scrap lumber from sustainable sources, never virgin hardwoods. We built promotions around the notion that at the end of their life, after constant recycling and repairs, old pallets are turned into garden mulch. It was a way to promote sustainability and environmental friendliness in a dramatic way.

Our strategy also included a direct mail sustainability brochure targeted to warehouse distribution managers (the pallet decision makers) that featured a bag of garden mulch inside with the message on the cover, “This used to be a PALNET pallet.” We backed that up with a trade PR campaign that hammered out the message that wooden pallets were the eco-choice and that “environmental” plastic pallets were an unsustainable myth.

Impact: We had fun with our press releases and they received wide coverage including Forbes, USA Today, Reuters and Businessweek. Michael Smith, President of PALNET, reports that all these efforts have produced strong results in a very competitive, penny-driven market and won them the Home Depot account.

Power New Mexico

Situation: For their customers and for New Mexico, PNM, the state’s major electric utility company, keeps the lights on and is a core contributor to economic growth. However, in our ever-changing energy environment, there are increasing demands for utilities to heavily invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Yet requests for rate increases to pay for these large capital investments have created a polarized energy landscape between various civic and environmental groups, which have often harmed PNM’s public image. To make matters more difficult, PNM is the sole provider in a regulated market. The company must delicately balance reliability, affordability and the environment while managing a regulatory board and keeping shareholders happy.

One of the most interesting facts that has come out of recent research is that engaging consumers in environmental stewardship and energy efficiency drastically increases customer satisfaction and give customers an opportunity for a significant positive interaction with their utility company—a win-win situation for PNM.

Approach: In today’s economic environment, transparency is everything. It’s going beyond what you want your customers to see, to being fully open about what you actually do. Green has to mean something more than pretty little pictures of sunsets and solar panels. In the Santa Fe marketplace in particular, we knew PNM customers were “thinking consumers” who were well educated in renewable energy.

PNM needed to make their messages educational, informative and entertaining—while being truthful about how green they really were. With a campaign entitled, “Talk to Us”, PNM opened the lines for real effective communication and dialogue. No greenwashing here. Just an open, honest, and disarming message: We are here to listen. Tell us what you think. Ask us what you want to know. Talk to us. This kind of messaging builds trust and faith.When it comes to a green message, you don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be willing to explain where you need improvement and what you’re going to do about it.

By opening up lines of communication on a local level through events, sponsorships and a multitude of one-on-one conversations, PNM tirelessly works to position itself as a reliable and committed “neighbor” who is here to serve its customers with value, trust, and confidence.

Dream Designs

Are you good in bed?

Situation: Dream Designs is a chain of organic lifestyle stores in Vancouver Canada that manufactures and sells organic bedding, sheets, towels, mattresses, fashion and more. They are a perfect example of how knowing your customer informs and molds the advertising messages.

By definition, the Dream Designs customer is educated, affluent, hip, adventurous and interesting. That tells you that the best way to communicate to them is to make the communications as interesting and adventurous as they are. The other challenge is to do all of that in a small media space. No small task.

Approach: We created a series of six ads that could be repeated and run on a regular, weekly basis to build momentum around the stores and the products Dream Designs sells. “Are you good in bed?” featured their 100% organic sheets was how we began. After all, 100% organic sheets with no chemicals or pesticides in the cotton growing cycle is good to be in bed with. We followed that with “Sleep like an ecolog” featuring their 100% organic mattresses.

Next came ads for their organic pillows, “A case for our pillows” and “Are your pillows a sham?” And then “Make a blanket statement” featured their organic designer blankets. For their 100% organic cotton towels, we asked a serious question: “Does the “t” in your towels mean toxic?” We even did a fun, 50% off sale ad with the headline “Beddy buy.”

Why did we have so much fun with their ads? We knew that their customers would appreciate the humor and intellectual exercise of getting the meaning and personality of Dream Designs advertising. That way we implied quality without having to say it. We said the stores would be fun to shop in without having to tout it.

When your product is really good, you can show your style and imply all your positive attributes without spelling them out. When your customers can join in on the fun of your communications, you have created a relationship that makes them want you to succeed. Best of all, having your customers actually look forward to your ads and what you are going to say next is the best of all possible worlds.

Be brave, have fun, entertain as you inform and even your small space ads will make a big splash — and a big impact.

Happiness Santa Fe

Happiness is the bottom line

Situation: In 2011, the United Nations passed a unanimous declaration urging member nations to place the “Pursuit of Happiness” rather than economic growth at the forefront of their development agendas, and to find ways to measure its success. Programs aimed at assessing well being, and coupling the results to formulate public policy, have spread across the globe from Bhutan to Brazil to the United Kingdom, and to Australia, Canada, and China.

According to Dr. Merle Lefkoff of the Center for Emergent Diplomacy, “Across the planet, people increasingly demand that we replace the current global, consumption-based economic system, measured by GDP, with a new system, called Gross National Happiness (GNH). GNH is based on a comprehensive list of conditions that lead to human happiness and well-being. They include measures of satisfaction with life, the health of citizens, community vitality, social support networks, access to education and to the arts, protection of the environment, and governance that reflects the desires of the people, among other life-enhancing indicators.”

Here in the U.S., the Seattle-based Happiness Initiative is leading a campaign for citizens to take a well being survey that has now been used in many communities around the country — including Santa Fe, New Mexico, our hometown.
Approach: The Center for Emergent Diplomacy asked us to help brand Santa Fe, NM as a Happiness City. We were happy to do it. Knowing that the root of this movement goes way beyond measuring prosperity through material growth to include the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment, we came up with the branding line, “Happiness is the bottom line” with a graphic the flies the face of what we would normally equate with any “bottom line”. We made sure we didn’t use the color of money or IBM blue to communicate this. Instead upbeat and happy hues were used.

Impact: The City of Santa Fe and the Center for Emergent Diplomacy ran with it and our campaign resulted in hundreds of community members taking the Happiness Survey — coupled with a week of activities for Santa Feans to learn, experience and embrace what a Happiness City really means.

Women Of Green

Turn Up the Volume

Situation: Women Of Green are especially important to us at Mind Over Markets because it’s Carolyn’s creation as well as her passion. Why are women so pivotal in and to the green movement? Statistics show that women make 85% of all consumer purchases. And according to the New York Times, there are more women controlling more wealth in the U.S. than ever before. Of those in the wealthiest tier of the country defined by the I.R.S. as individuals with assets of at least $1.5 million – 45% are women.

To top that off, the Dalai Lama said, “The world will be saved by the western woman.” They will because their decisions and their purchases have the power to greatly and radically affect and impact the health of their families, and the health of the planet for all of us.

Women Of Green is asking women to help improve the world by what they buy and don’t buy. It’s what Carolyn calls “disruptive buyology.” Changing the environment for the better by careful, purposeful and thoughtful purchases.

“Women have a very specific and important role in the global change we’re in. We have economic power and ecologic consciousness. That’s a potent combination that can move mountains,” says Carolyn. “Women Of Green is about harnessing that power in this critical time.”

Approach: “Turn Up The Volume” of the feminine voice is the mission and tag line of Women Of Green. We believe it captures its cause and is also a rallying cry. History has always known the power of women to affect change. Aristophanes, the ancient Greek playwright, wrote about it in Lysistrata, an account of one woman’s mission to end the Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace. More productively, women can withhold and apply their financial support of goods, services and companies who act in the best interests of the environment and the individual.

Through videos, podcasts, blogs and events, Women Of Green features dynamic women thought leaders, artists, mothers, business owners and policy makers who are changing the world in millions of ways. To add your voice to the voices that are turning up the volume and turning things around for the people of planet earth, visit and their Facebook Fan Page “Women Of Green”.

MAC Recycling

Reshaping Recycling

Situation: What do you do when your client is in a business that people don’t realize is a business? Or in a category that people think they know everything about, but don’t. That was the dilemma MidAtlantic Clothing Recycling was in when they came to MOM.

What we learned is people who visit and use clothing collection bins often think they are donating their used clothing to a charity. Many of us are familiar with those giant collection bins along the side of the road or in large parking lots that ask for donations to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. MAC is different. They are a for-profit clothing recycler. What they collect is sorted, bundled and shipped out to developing countries where second-hand clothing resellers sell it to people who need it. Second-hand clothing is so common and so part of the culture in many nations that there are folk songs sung about it, and pet names such as “Pepe” in Haiti and “Salaula” in Zambia attached to it.

Approach: Our branding job was two-fold. First, we had to educate people about why they should recycle their used clothing in the first place. Most people don’t know it but used clothes contribute more than 2.5 billion pounds of waste to our landfills. That comes out to more than 67 pounds per person, per year. That fact alone proves just how important recycling used clothes is. Equally as important as bottles, cans and paper. For MOM, upping the awareness of the need to recycle used clothes was job one.

Second, we had to assure people that even though MAC Recycling was not a non-profit, what they did profited everyone along the long supply chain from giver to the scores of micro business people around the globe who earn their living reselling Pepe and Salaula to those who need and want it — allowing them to have decent, wearable clothing for literally pennies. For instance, less than 15 cents can bring a warm sweater to someone in Pakistan.

The branding line that finally emerged for MAC Recycling was “Reshaping Recycling”. We wanted to communicate that something different was being brought to recycling consciousness. We wanted the line to help people understand that there was more to recycling and more to recycle than they thought. We took the high road and instead of just speaking about and promoting MAC Recycling. We wanted MAC to speak up for clothing recycling in general, no matter who ended up with it. If people wanted to donate their clothing to a charity, MAC Recycling directed them to organizations and websites where they could do just that. MAC never discouraged charitable contributions, and in fact had adopted a charity of their own. Their local chapter of D.A.R.E.

We populated MAC Recycling communications, brochures and the website we created for them with “Did you know?” facts that drove home the need for all of us to recycle used clothing. We gave them messages like “Clean out your closet and clean up the earth.” For schools and other worthy organizations, we helped arrange clothing drives and collection sites which helped them raise money. We even designed promotional flyers for them with messages like “Turn your school’s used clothing into new money”.

We wanted people to feel good about where their used clothing was going, so we went on to explain how used clothing helped dress so many around the world for so little. We assured them that putting their used clothes in MAC collection bins contributed to many people around the world — that their used clothing helped to create a supply chain of work and income. And helped provide much needed clothing to people who might otherwise be unable to afford it.

All of that was a rethinking and reshaping of recycling as most people understand it. And ultimately that should be what good branding does. Reframing and reshaping how people perceive your brand for the better.