In recent years, many companies have developed and implemented sustainability plans to not only help save the planet, but to fulfil a larger purpose and build long term value and loyalty. Consumer Product and Retail Organisations understand the benefits sustainability has on their relationships with customers: 77% indicate sustainability leads to increases in customer loyalty, while 63% say it increases brand revenue.
Some companies see sustainability practices as a cost, however, a long-term lens highlights that the cost of inaction may be larger as sustainability measures can improve brand value and loyalty which helps to protect a company’s future and ensure they keep operating for longer.
Sustainability is Fundamentally Changing Consumer Preferences
A new report from the Capgemini Research Institute “Consumer Products and Retail: How sustainability is fundamentally changing consumer preferences”, finds that sustainability has risen up the customer’s agenda: 79% of consumers are changing their purchase preferences based on social responsibility, inclusiveness, or environmental impact. Moreover, COVID-19 has increased consumer awareness and commitment to buying sustainably: 67% of consumers said that they will be more cautious about the scarcity of natural resources due to the COVID-19 crisis, and 65% said that they will be more mindful about the impact of their overall consumption in the “new normal.”
Research shows sustainability is a topic that transcends age. The 2020 IBM study on consumer behavior revealed that while Millennials are the most interested in sustainability awareness, Boomers (and all consumers in between) strongly consider it when choosing brands.
Consumer Education Is Required
Despite intentions to be sustainable, there is a gap between what consumers think they know, and what they actually know, about sustainability: 78% of consumers are not aware that it takes 1,000 litres of water to produce a chocolate bar and 68% are not aware that an average burger results in more emissions than driving 15km in a large car. Nearly 68% of consumers who purchased these products were willing to purchase a more sustainable product once they were made aware of the sustainability issues. This highlights the need for more sustainability-related information to be available for consumers and reinforces the importance of brands driving the sustainability agenda.
Tips for Communicating Sustainability
Be consistent and communicate across all touchpoints (or you may well be taken to task on social media like MacDonald’s was regarding its paper straws which were not recyclable)
Be transparent & authentic:
Be honest & credible, don’t ‘greenwash’ – consumer trust is required
Sustainability marketing doesn’t work if it’s not authentic. Make sure your brand is looking at sustainability from a holistic lens.
Imperfection is ok – even world leaders don’t have all the answers. Audiences don’t expect perfection…they do, however, value transparency. It’s OK – and recommended – to share where you currently fall short and how you plan to remedy these issues.
‘Responsibility’ is becoming a common brand value and several companies have announced social initiatives that put the onus back onto the customer, challenging them to choose between the cheaper option and the (morally) ‘better’ option.
Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable and ethically produced products but they are faced with a dizzying array of choices in a cluttered media environment. Conscious consumers have to work hard to find products and services that meet their ethics.
After 18 months of research and development, BrandWorld launched CHOOSEWELL, an integrated advertising platform to place brands directly in front of pre-engaged audiences.
Capitalising on the 25 years of experience with New Zealand’s leading health advertising platform Family Health Diary, CHOOSEWELL is a fresh and contemporary ‘multi-screen’ platform giving the personalisation of digital with the reach of mass media. With households using multiple screens simultaneously to consume their media, the CHOOSEWELL platform leverages multiple media to wrap around the audiences.
By enlisting the power of ‘3rd party endorsement’ in a presenter-led educative format, CHOOSEWELL boosts engagement and interaction while adding to the authenticity that conscious consumers are seeking.
If you would like to find out more about how CHOOSEWELL can help communicate your sustainability practices, please contact Denise Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.