Is your brand socially and environmentally fit for the future?
Consumer attitudes towards the environment are changing.
89% of the 722 UK shoppers we surveyed in November of 2019 are concerned about the environment, and a quarter of them feel that their level of concern will likely grow over the next twelve months.
In fact, exclusive Maru/Matchbox insight reveals that shoppers are already making choices based on environmental factors. Brands therefore must ensure their offering is seen as contributing towards a greener future if they want to be successful.
But what is driving this shift towards the environmental consumer? And how do brands positively impact and influence decision-making to ensure success in the months and years ahead?
Pollution and plastics are driving environmental concern
Our consumer survey used a combination of System 1 and System 2 research approaches to uncover both the rational and emotional responses to environmental shopper issues.
We utilized Implicit Association Testing (IAT) methodologies to help understand the subliminal drivers of decision-making relating to the environment. Our tests measure reaction time to interpret the implicit, subconscious response to a brand, product or experience. IAT utilises System 1 thinking to capture the emotional response of consumers.
The results show that consumers are emotionally concerned with day-to-day environmental factors – such as plastic waste, deforestation and air pollution – rather than the wider impact of climate change as a whole. Brands who take direct action against these issues will resonate strongly with consumers.
Targeted environmental messaging has the greatest impact on behaviour
Caring consumers want to feel that they are contributing to positive action on issues important to them. This means that brands that seen to be engaging positively with specific issues – such as air pollution, plastic waste and deforestation – will create a better connection with consumers than those who attempt to tackle sustainability under a much wider environmental banner.
61% of the consumers surveyed by Maru/Matchbox are keen to start actively buying from brands that are doing more for the environment, while another 58% want to buy products that are certified sustainable.
Strong, authentic environmental credentials are therefore key to the future success of brands. Brand owners must ensure sustainability is a part of their values and supply-chain, from raw materials through to manufacturing and packaging. It is no longer enough to have an environmentally-friendly tagline – instead, consumers want to see and feel a set of environmental values that influences a brand’s decision-making and ways-of-working.
Making brands environmentally fit for the future
Consumers struggle to make big changes to their lifestyles. Instead, they’re looking to brands to empower and enable them to make the right environmental choices.
Brands can no longer ignore the growing climate conversation – taking no action carries a significant risk to the future success of brands.
But brands who attempt to tackle sustainability issues under one environmental policy will fail. Consumers want direct, transparent action that demonstrates clear environmental benefits on specific issues – such as the removal of single-use plastic from Sainsbury’s fruit and vegetable aisles or Lush’s self-imposed carbon tax.
Brands who emotionally engage shoppers on environmental issues will be the ones who succeed in the months and years ahead. Clearly demonstrating how you are reducing plastic waste, cutting carbon emissions or preventing deforestation is essential to winning the hearts and minds of consumers in 2020.