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

Shannon Arvizu | Friday November 9th, 2007 | 1 Comment

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.


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  • Dave Shires

    Great post. I’m a little skeptical of the reality behind that 90% figure though… Even though things are getting better (at least in terms of what people seem to be aware of) the behavior I see at the strip malls of America seems to imply that not a whole lot has changed. The real change will only come when we manage to separate happiness from consumerism. Our whole economy is still based on the pathology of constant shopping for happiness… I don’t really care if people buy “green” stuff or not, just that they buy LESS.
    Don’t mean to rain on the parade though, this is generally good news!