Sunday, November 11, 2012

Will VT Businesses Cultivate Clean Branding?

I Believe businesses must constantly earn the valuable ‘Clean’ branding that Vermont conveys.

According to The VERMONT Brand, a study by O’Neil Strategy Group, a brand is a set of strong associations people have with a product, place or service. Brands exist in peoples’minds, not in the product, place or service itself. These associations are really expectations people have for that product, place or service.

For purchasers of Vermont products the Vermont image includes natural, pure, beautiful and respectful of the environment. Does litter in front of storefronts enhance this association?  (This is less about your business deficiencies and more about your business opportunities.) 

Shall retail businesses elect to clean up and maintain a litter free storefront to include the parking area, walkway, fronting sidewalk, greenbelt, and roadside curb, on a year round basis?

Elect clean storefronts –it is a matter of community pride. Moreover, it is a matter of differentiation for Vermont businesses.

Yes, on Green Up Day and during spring planting, there is a focus on removing the littered trash from our landscape. Unfortunately, outside those periods, there is a cumulative fall out of trash, which adds blight to the shopping district and to our communities.

Littered trash is a detriment to both the economy and the health of a community. Some people have accepted littered trash as status quo. Some may have just stopped being conscious of the food packaging, plastic, and other littered trash. This does not make it benign, or an isolated problem.

'Clean Branding' is an opportunity.  Some businesses have responded to residents voiced concern about litter on the storefront.   Often it is a matter of reminding business owners, managers, and employees of the opportunity they have to remove the blight on their storefront's image, by adopting a regularly scheduled clean up (daily or at least weekly).

Business owners and managers: take a wide view of your business welcome mat. Join your neighbor to clean the combined businesses’ landscape including sidewalks and public greenbelt in front and around your establishments. Perform clean ups frequently in order to continually earn the pure, clean branding Vermont as a whole carries.

Businesses clean snow as soon as it falls, why not litter? Vermont is sometimes green, sometimes white, always pure, natural, fun, and a great place to raise a family. Proprietors: help amplify Vermont’s Green and Clean brand and image; maintain a litter free healthy environment at your site year round.

Dropping trash and ignoring littered trash are behaviors untrue to Vermont values. Align maintaining a clean litter-free environment with your business objectives. Brand litter picking as a community building activity; create cleanliness as the social norm. 

Related information:
Vermont Retail and grocers association web site is:
Ask them to remind their membership of the value to their business and to their community, in clean branding. Ask them to maintain a litter free store front year round.

The *Circle of Prosperity. First articulated in Vermont back in 1997 by the Vermont Business Round -table, the “Circle of Prosperity” emphasizes the fact that economic development and healthy communities are a system, involving the collective and sometimes coordinated actions of many individuals, businesses, and institutions.
Clean environment , Good Schools, Access to Higher Education, Housing, High Quality of Life, Early Childhood Development.

 Which attract and Retain...

Talented Workforce, Diverse Industrial Base, High-Paying jobs.

Which Increase...

Regional Income & Opportunities, Public Revenues.
Which we Invest to Have.....
Clean Environment, Good Schools, Access to Higher Education, Housing, High Quality of Life, Early Childhood Development.
*Economic and Policy Resources 2004 Chittenden County Economic Plan. The Role of the Vermont Business Roundtable in the Evaluation, Coordination and Support of Economic Development Policy in Vermont, Report of the Economic development Task Force, 1997. pp.1-2.

Citizens: Print and clip the CleanUp Coupon and drop off at any store or business where you see litter or trash on the storefront. Read more (and access the coupon) here

Contact Bernie Paquette via Twitter!/VTLitterStories.  

Other Commercial/Retail and city government postings:

Ø  Trash and cigarette receptacle proposal to city council: