Understanding where our consumers heads are at, and how this affects their purchasing behaviour, is at the heart of good business. We recently wrote about the rise in popularity of goodvertising, that is, adverts with a positive social or environmental message. Now this message has to have integrity, or, as we saw with the Kendall Jenner Pepsi advert incident, it can go very very wrong.
Thankfully for you, as a brand already built on a sustainable ethos, you probably have a more accomplished understanding of the world than a brand trying to crowbar in an impression of that to jump on a bandwagon. Here are some of the things to bear in mind though, about what your customers want today, and what they are willing to spend to get it.
Customers are willing to spend more on sustainable products, even if they’re not as good.
Nielsen found in 2014 that consumers are “willing to put their money where their mouth is” when it comes to purchasing from sustainable brands. Fifty-five percent of online customers from the global community say they would pay more for products that have a positive social and environmental impact, according to the survey. Amy Fenton, Nielson’s global leader of public development and sustainability says that this means brands now have to confront the challenge of effectively “marrying the appropriate social cause and consumer segments” to create shared value.
A more recent study has even found that more than half of consumers would sacrifice product quality, choosing a product with better social and environmental values over a better, more efficient product. So pushing the sustainable message over the product’s is key!
Brands with clear Sustainability credentials on Packaging and Marketing do better.
The Nielsen study also notes how sustainable brands are even more popular among millennials, who are also more likely to check labels for credentials too. It looks like being clear about social and environmental causes in marketing materials can really create a boom for your company.
A recent 2017 report from Unilever has found that a third of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands based on their social and environmental impact, which means that there is a potential of over $1000 billion worth of untapped opportunity for brands making their sustainable credentials clear.
The financial boost for companies with clear sustainable credentials is reinforced by Unilever’s own experience, finding that of their many hundreds of brands, the ones integrating sustainability into products and purpose, like Dove, Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s, delivered nearly half of the company’s global growth in 2015 and continue to grow quicker than their other brands.
Consumers expect social and environmental responsibility from the companies they shop from but also recognise that they need to do more themselves.
Companies are looked at to provide valuable guidance. Findings from the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study indicate that 76 percent of consumers would donate to a charity supported by a trusted company and 72 percent would volunteer for a cause supported by a company they trust. Indicating that it is no longer enough just to push a product and its benefits, people want to buy into both a product and their own potential to create change through volunteerism and advocacy.
They want to talk about sustainable brands on social media.
The same study has found that more than half of consumers across the world use social media to talk to and about brands about their CSR (corporate social responsibility), offer feedback or simply engage with companies online. More than a third of consumers take to social to share positive information about a company’s CSR, so make sure that info is available for people to discuss and share, as it can boost your engagement. A quarter of consumers will take to social to share negative information too however, but hopefully that’s something that can give you an advantage over less sustainable brands.
Bottom line, consumers care about sustainability and want to talk about it. It is not just enough to focus on your product anymore, because you won’t get the same levels of social engagement or even purchasing power. As a sustainable brand though, we’re sure you have plenty to talk about.