The Buzz on Buzzwords: Do Americans get the sustainability jargon you’re using – and does it make them want what you’re selling?

Source: Shelton Communications Group

Author(s): Suzanne Shelton

Year: 2015


It’s 2015, and green is exponentially more mainstream these days. It’s a selling point for many major global brands. It’s plastered all over product packaging. It’s the star of Super Bowl ads aimed at the American heartland. And we all know (and may be a little weary of) the lingo that goes with environmental marketing: Green. Eco-friendly. Sustainable. To say nothing of the jargon that relates to individual products, like recyclable or low-VOC. The words are ubiquitous these days.

But what do Americans really think of these terms? Are they really mainstream? Do consumers understand their meaning – and more critically, do the words conjure up positive or negative feelings? Do people associate them with increased cost? Better health? Political baggage?

That’s what this report is about. We took the American pulse when it comes to green buzzwords to find out which ones are powerful and which ones fall short of the mark. Which ones make consumers feel warm and fuzzy and which ones leave them cold. Which ones they get and which ones they really, truly, sincerely don’t. (We’re looking at you, VOCs.)

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