In this first article of our series about The Rise of the Conscious Consumer (and what it means for your brand), I would like to introduce you to a new player, whose profile we were able to draw from our research, based on more than a dozen recently published studies by leading business and academic organizations.
Out of many they are ONE
Environmentally conscious consumers—whom Unilever says represent over $1 trillion for brands willing to make their sustainable credentials clear—have become the majority in most economically developed countries. Everywhere we looked, research shows that a large majority of consumers believe positive environmental and social impact are important, even very important. At least 2/3 of respondents—sometimes even up to 8 out of 10—are prioritizing environmental and social matters in their expectations toward brands. And these numbers keep growing. It is not a wave, nor a momentary trend, it is a global tide. And it keeps rising.
And the winner is: The Environment, what else?
Number 1 in your customers’ interests, concerns and expectations from brands is… the environment. Of course.
Unless you are holed up in a 19th Century airtight political agenda and would rather see your children suffer from radiation, floods and hurricanes than admit there is a climate problem, the current climate change crisis is staring at each and everyone of us in the face – and has clearly become the new #1 global issue we all share. And consumers concur.
A 2017 Tetra Pak Environment Research surveying 6,500 consumers across 13 countries (including the US) confirms that on average 62% of households are environmentally engaged, and that households with children drive engagement up even more significantly. That should not come as a surprise: when you love your children, why would you leave them a barren, worn out, flooded planet where it will be harder and harder to survive?
Interestingly, in the US, it gets even more personal, with 88% of Americans who believe taking care of the earth is very important and a solid 62% who are concerned that climate change will affect them or a member of their family. A stark contrast, to say the least, with the environmental policy of the current US Administration.
In Europe also, and in France very recently, over 2 million people signed a petition to sue the French government for not doing enough for the environment. Titled “The Business of the Century” (L’affaire du siècle), this petition became in less than 3 weeks the single most signed petition in the history of France.
If people are willing to sue their own government for not doing enough, what do you think they will do to your brand?
Here’s what: two-thirds of consumers will consciously choose to avoid specific brands and/or products due to environmental concerns. And this figure has increased by 26% in just the last six years (source: Green Industry Analysis 2018 – Cost & Trends). Cheers!
And on the communication front, the environment is ALSO the top subject that consumers expect brands to address and to talk about in their content—with 88% of people surveyed ( Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study of 2018) saying they expect brands to do more and talk about the environment in their communication. And 73% of consumers mention ‘climate change’ specifically.
From Consumers to Activists:
The environment is not the only trait of this new consumer. Conscious Consumers are also showing a strong engagement and support toward brands that support “good causes”. And demonstrate their will to walk away from brands who do not. According to an Edelman goodpurpose® Study, 72% of consumers would recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t. And 73% would simply switch brands if a different brand of similar quality supported a good cause.
While the traditional “price/quality” still seems to play a role, we are seeing the emergence of competing factors that have nothing to do with the product, the service or the solution itself… such as social, cause-driven and positive-impact brand behaviors.
Pushing the envelope, a bit further (but not much), it is my personal strong belief that, as people’s trust in governments is everywhere in decline, citizens-consumers now turn to brands to deliver on their societal expectations.
Brands have had personalities for a while already. They are now empowered with social and political responsibilities which, for most, have nothing to do with their business.
And those who understand that and are willing to play the game will win the support (and the wallet) of hundreds of millions of conscious-consumers worldwide.
I will be one of them.
Founder & Managing Director
About Positive Solutions & Thierry Daher – www.positivesolutions.net
Positive Solutions is a purpose-driven content agency, creating exclusively Positive Content and igniting positive transformation in people and organizations worldwide. We do this by representing and promoting some of the world’s brightest business minds who have a positive impact on people and/or the planet, such as Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer of Google[x] & Founder of #onebillionhappy and Duncan Wardle, former Head of Innovation & Creativity for Disney. And by creating video, events and cinematic brand-content that have a positive impact on audiences, across cultural boundaries.
Positive Solutions was created in September 2017 by Thierry Daher, a tech entrepreneur, digital marketer, award-winning filmmaker and brand content pioneer who has worked over the years with the likes of Disney, Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Puma, Macy’s, Bic, Mattel and many more, mixing brands and pop culture in his groundbreaking feature documentaries, series and videos.