“Riding on the Coattails of Sustainability”?

Our dilemma is this:  we’re a pretty ethical company. We are proper engineering geeks. We love to get into the technical nitty-gritty. But we also develop engineering design software, which we need to sell. Marketing and promotion, especially self-promotion, don’t come so easy to the generation that didn’t grow up with the Internet. It’s all a bit uncomfortable.  A case in point: the directors have decided to offer a  70% discount on our software to sustainable energy companies.  It’s a way that we can contribute to grow the community. It’s also a way to get new customers, of course. But we won’t be putting this in a press release, because we don’t want to be accused of cynically riding on the coattails of the sustainability movement…

We’re in the thick of a moral dilemma where the much less ethical companies get the most marketing exposure. Those of us who want to make a difference don’t want to be seen as cynically exploiting the “topic de jour”.  But how else to be heard?

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