Green personal branding is identifying and positioning yourself in a niche of the explosive green movement. But how does a personal brand exist within a concept like green, that has so long been the realm of activism and non-profits? What kind of new issues sprout to the surface as personal branding enters Green?
As a marketing tool, branding serves to position a person as the solution to a customer's problem. But how does personal brand translate when focused on a "cause" rather than a product?
The first example of personal green branding that comes to mind is Julia "Butterfly" Hill. Hill spent nearly 2 years in an ancient redwood tree she called Luna to bring attention to destructive logging practices. In the end, her activism saved the tree and a nearly 3 mile buffer zone around it, as well as brought attention and actionable change to the issue of old growth logging.
Since her monumental "tree sit," Hill has utilized her brand to raise awareness of even more issues and taken up a battle against what her website, http://www.circleoflife.org, calls "celebretitis," or the glorification of celebrity for its own sake.
Another person that comes to mind is Van Jones. Jones is the author of Green Collar Economy, a book about how to solve poverty and the environment. Jones defines green collar jobs as a "family-supporting, career-track job that directly contributes to preserving or enhancing environmental quality." A tall order that Jones believes can and will offer one solution to two big problems: poverty and environmental destruction. He created an non-profit called Green For All in Oakland, CA to study, develop and create policy and action at all legislative levels. He was recently appointed to President Barack Obama's administration with a focus on green collar jobs.
Jones is using his powerful personal green branding to create public policy.
Neither of these two iconic people are using their personal green branding to sell a product, but in the more traditional activism realm of the green movement. Will this continue or will personal green branding become more focused on commerce as green itself becomes more and more utilized in branding?
The big questions that remain are whether "green" will lose its meaning as it becomes part of the advertising world or if green will act as a change agent from within as the economy and society grow.
For now, the question remains a seed in the spring of the green movement.