Sustainability - What next?
As we’ve said at various points in our previous blogs, consumers/shoppers need help to turn their desire to be environmentally friendly into action. The companies that make sustainable behaviours easier for consumers/shoppers to adopt are more likely to be amongst tomorrow’s winners.
Sustainability, in all its forms, will increasingly be part of the conversation you need to have with your target market. So it is important to start adding the consumer/shopper perspective to your sustainability plans for the future.
Regardless of which sustainable features you can, or plan to, apply to your products, packaging or retail environments, there are key points in any purchase journey (see Fig 1) when you can flex those features to appeal to today’s shoppers/consumers.
Taking this structured approach allows you to identify where you can nudge consumers/shoppers closer to your brand or category, in order to make the most of the opportunity. It might even be the case that this perspective helps remove fundamental barriers currently in place that are inhibiting your brand or category’s potential.
One thing is for sure, this is a game of patience. Consumer education and shopper action will take time [think of the introduction of plastic bag legislation and how many of us still buy plastic bags when out top-up shopping]. As previously highlighted, those who collaborate will benefit the most, this is not an easy fix. Engrained habits and perspectives do not change overnight.
As momentum grows behind the topic of sustainability, it is vital for there to be real validity behind any claims made. Claims must have longevity and be able to stand up to public scrutiny. If sustainability is chosen to either become a hygiene factor for a brand or part of the fundamental positioning, then building trust is a vital foundation. Jumping on the bandwagon simply to elicit a purchase trigger could be a risky business, and is likely to be unravelled by today's cynical shoppers later on in the consumer cycle.
Now that Green is the new normal, the more you can show consumers/shoppers that you can help them make more sustainable choices, the better for your bottom line.