Earth Day and the Power of Personal Connections

Today is Earth Day, and in 2011 we are encouraged by the Earth Day Network to join its “people-powered” campaign of pledging our acts of environmental service, with the goal of reaching a billion Acts of Green by 2012. It’s no secret that as a company, Adobe has been at the forefront of implementing green operating practices – in fact, we were the world’s first business to achieve four Platinum-level certifications for energy and environmental design excellence by the U.S. Green Building Council.

This year I also find myself reflecting on the various ways that our enterprise technology helps organizations leverage green business practices that ultimately help them decrease their environmental footprint, while increasing business efficiency and connecting people across geographies and time zones.

Acrobat solutions allow our customers to reduce the use of paper documents, while Adobe Connect makes it possible for people to collaborate and communicate globally in real time, helping reduce business travel and its related environmental impact.

For example, the U.S. Government Printing Office was able to save 20 million tons of paper over five years by using Acrobat and LiveCycle to generate, authenticate and share documents electronically. Adobe Connect enabled more than 50,000 SAP employees to communicate around the world instantly, reducing the company’s travel by as much as 90%.

And all along we have been focused with our Customer Experience Management platform on delivering highly personalized, engaging online interactions between enterprises and their customers to power great customer experiences that build brand loyalty without all the environmental damage caused by burning fuel for worldwide travel and wasting paper when electronic means would suffice.

That’s why I found it so interesting when I heard recently about an acquaintance who received a personal, handwritten note – not a personalized email – from leading online retailer Amazon.com, thanking him for his business over the past nine years.  That act of personal outreach had a marked impact.  He not only felt valued by Amazon.com after receiving this note, he now associates a human face with the company.

Can this be done in more environmentally friendly ways?  Of course it can.  Record a quick Flash video and send it on to someone you want to thank.  Send them a personalized PDF portfolio complete with pictures of past experiences together.  The Amazon story is about personal touch – about a real person inside a company reaching out to another real person to establish trust and loyalty.  Just because we are using greener means to communicate doesn’t mean we have to lose the essence of one-to-one personal communication.  In fact in many cases the technology allows us to do it more effectively.

This act of a real person at Amazon.com reaching out to a customer in a very personal way underscores the desire for us to connect with each other, even in our always-on, always-connected online business and personal lives.

We have powerful technology that enables us to know our customers and connect across geographies without the need to ever leave our offices — and that’s a great thing. Yet, we shouldn’t forget that behind the technology lie people.

And so on this Earth Day, I’m going to follow the “people-powered” examples of the Earth Day Network and leverage our great technologies to send something personal – you should do the same!

– Rob

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