Scrubbing up grubby brands and clean slate competition

Consumer trends in sustainability Social and Environmental ethics

Consumer trends in sustainability, Social and Environmental ethics Scrubbing up grubby brands and clean slate competition

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At June’s Executive Marketing breakfast, innovation maestro, Stefan Preston showcased US brand Method as an exemplar of building market share through radical new thinking. As well as significant innovation in packaging, distribution deals and promotional personality for household cleaning category, Method targeted their ‘natural ingredients’ products to meet significant LOHAS segment’s needs. The company has built sales in excess of US$100million since start-up in 2001.

LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) consumers often see products that are good for the environment – household products free of toxic chemicals and organic food for instance – as also good for themselves and their families, and therefore doubly desirable. Such concern is now mainstream.

Last month’s Nielsen 2014 Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries found on average 55% of global online consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive and social environmental impact. The results split by region:

  • Asia-Pacific 64%
  • Latin America 63%
  • Middle East/Africa 63%
  • North America 42%
  • Europe 40%

In the same study, 52% of global respondents said that they checked labels and packaging for social and environmental commitment. 51% of those who will pay more and check the packaging, globally, are ‘Millennials’ (‘Generation Y’ – aged 21 – 34). This growth in ‘Gen-Y’ focus on sustainability internationally was foreshadowed locally in November last year by Colmar Brunton’s latest Better Business, Better World results.

The consumer attitudes are reflected in sales; in March this year Nielsen reviewed year-on-year retail sales data for a cross-section of consumable and non-consumable categories in nine countries and found between a 1% and 4% net greater increase in sales for those with sustainability claims on packaging or for marketing programmes than for those without.

In November 2013, Trendwatching.com described this global shift as a radical change in the nature of consumerism and termed the mega-trend ‘guilt-free’ consumption.

– Great to have Marketing Association championing social and environmental responsibility by marketers.

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