Show Me and Tell Me: The Roar of Conscious Consumerism and Green Marketing

A new marketing study reveals that conscious consumers expect accountability and transparency from companies that claim to be “green.” Companies that fail to do so put themselves at risk of a consumer backlash.
Who are these “conscious consumers”? According to the inaugural BBMG Conscious Consumer Report, almost 90% of Americans say this term describes them well. When shopping for products that are of equal value and price, these consumers would choose items that are energy-efficient, promote health and safety benefits, support fair labor and fair trade, and are made according to environmentally-friendly standards.


Some of the most interesting findings of this study include:
* Health and wellness are most important: Conscious consumers expect the products they buy to have a positive personal and direct impact.
* “Conscious consumer” is the preferred term: Americans prefer to call themselves “conscious” or “socially/environmentally responsible” over “green.”
* Price and quality are still #1, but locally-produced, healthy, and energy-efficient qualities are increasingly important to consumers.
The study also reveals that consumers are savvy when it comes to detecting “greenwashing” marketing attempts. “In a world of green clutter, conscious consumers expect companies to do more than make eco-friendly claims. They demand transparency and accountability across every level of business practice. Avoiding the green trap means authentically backing your words with socially responsible actions.” says Raphael Bemporad, founding partner of BBMG.
So how does a company communicate to consumers about genuine attempts to improve their social/environmental impact? (1) Become a socially/environmentally certified brand. There are a number of third-party certification labels available that are industry-specific. (2) Share your company’s story with consumers. Include specific ways that your company benefits communities and the environment on your labels and websites. (3) Quantify your impact. Consumers want to know how many trees were saved, how many jobs created, or how much less energy was used to produce your product. The labels found on Act 2’s eco-friendly suitcases are a good example of a marketing strategy that communicates corporate consciousness effectively to consumers.
Consumers value honesty and are paying more attention to how their purchases impact the world beyond the supermarket. Producing conscious goods and services, and successfully communicating their authenticity, is the way to capitalize on this new consumer trend.

Shannon Arvizu, Ph.D., is a clean tech educator and cutting-edge consultant for the auto industry. You can follow her test drives in the cars of the future at www.misselectric.com.