Sustainability report: conscientious consumption requires brands to reinvent themselves
The Covid-19 pandemic has been like a magnifying glass for political, social and economic problems, and there are countless examples to choose from. This has also raised awareness about urgent topics, such as climate change and sustainability.
The latest sustainability report (an analysis of the results from b4p and b4t) investigates how companies can successfully apply this shift in awareness to their market strategies, or more specifically, what this changed awareness of society means for brand positioning, multiplier target groups and the creation of advertising material.
The new standard: what’s important to consumers today
One of the most important results from the latest survey is that the attitude of a brand/product is becoming increasingly important and has already become more important than the criterion of status when making a purchase decision. That’s why, in response to the question ‘what do consumers expect from companies whose products they buy?’, brand trust and credibility as well as concrete aspects of production conditions come in at third, fourth and fifth place respectively after product quality (1st place) and an attractive price (2nd place). According to the survey, more than 70 per cent of respondents place more importance on the origin of the product, on it being produced under fair conditions without the use of child labour, and on animal welfare than they do on the status they expect to come with purchasing the product. It also showed that considerably fewer consumers are buying a product only because it ‘conveys a certain lifestyle’ (44.7 per cent), it makes them proud (38.8 per cent) or acts as a ‘status symbol’ (24.5 per cent).
Furthermore, 68 per cent and 65 per cent find it important or very important that brands today take a clear stance on environmental and social issues. If we look at this the other way around, it becomes an even more pressing issue: if brands do not take a clear stance, they risk losing prestige and being boycotted by consumers.
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From attitude to behaviour? How does this affect consumers?
The study also examined demand in the markets for e-mobility, organic and natural products, vegetarian products and alternative drive energies.
In automotive advertising, for example, the environmental aspect involved requires target group differentiation. One of the essential differentiation criteria is how consumers see the environmental situation on personal level. Consequently, safety, value for money and environmentally friendly drive technology are far more important to those who see environmental development rather pessimistically than to those who are optimistic about it. The target groups for the different electric vehicles also differ greatly: for instance, e-bikes are popular in the 50–65 age group and tend to be found in rural areas. People with electric cars are mostly under 49 years old, while e-scooters represent the youngest target group and are mainly found in urban regions.
In general, the main target groups for sustainable products are the educated elite that are well off and the traditional print readership. The target group for vegan products and electric scooters, in particular, is very young. At the same time, people that can be considered ‘sustainable’ are not fundamentalists, but rather an ambivalent target group of connoisseurs that are open-minded consumers and conscious of quality. Advertisers should therefore use this opportunity to their advantage: retailers are receiving particularly good results with advertising that uses sustainable motifs – as long as the brand attitude can be proven and is authentic.
The study is available in its entirety here: https://gik.media/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2021-01-07-GIK-Sustainabiliy-Report.pdf