PR & thought leadership

How claiming to have the silver bullet makes you a target

Carolyn McMaster | July 24, 2014

People trying to turn an innovative sustainability technology into a market-leading product or service often develop a religious fervor: theirs is the one true path to salvation. That spirit is great for maintaining morale and motivating everyone to forge ahead. But it’s bad marketing.

Our sustainability challenges are enormous and fast-moving, and the reality is, there’s probably not a single solution to any one of them. When you say you have a silver bullet, you’re more likely to raise doubts than inspire converts.

Why? “I have the one best way” is an impossible claim to prove (at least until you’ve realized your dream), and it’s catnip to skeptics who are waiting to pick your solution apart. Besides, we’ve all heard these boasts from others whose solutions didn’t pan out.

Maintaining credibility with outside audiences may require curbing your enthusiasm a bit. “Under promise and over deliver” is still good advice: if you say you’re going to save the world, no one will be impressed if you only save a town.

More advice about successful marketing for green products and services can be found in our Strategy>Shift guide, 9 Ways to Promote Sustainability without Greenwashing. Get it here.


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