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Bill Roth headshot

CSR Wins Customers And Sells Products

Words by Bill Roth

A Nielsen survey conducted this week points to exploding consumer interest in buying healthy, green products. The even better news for businesses is that 66 percent of surveyed consumers say they will pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact. The business bottom-line is that adopting corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the path to growing sales without damaging price competition.

Key drivers influencing consumer purchases

Nieslen polled over 30,000 consumers in 60 countries. They found that the key factors driving consumer purchases were a mixture of brand trust, natural ingredients, and health and wellness benefits. The search by consumers for “in me, on me and around me” solutions has now evolved into a Green Economic Revolution where consumer values-expectations increasingly drive what they buy and who they will buy from.

Here are three telling statistics from this survey:

  • 62 percent of consumer purchases are influenced by a company’s trustworthiness

  • 59 percent of consumers purchases are influenced by a product’s know health and wellness benefits

  • 57 percent of consumer purchases are influenced by a product being made from natural or organic ingredients

The business bottom-line is that trying to win consumers through continuous price promotions is generating diminishing revenue results. The key to winning customers, rather than just price-promoted purchases, is through selling sustainably-sourced products that promote human and environmental wellbeing.

Authenticity drives food sales

Authenticity is replacing branding and advertising in how consumers judge a product. Market research firm Instantly conducted a survey of 4,200 people that were members of its iPoll community. One stunning result was that 80 percent of those surveyed agreed that food products with artificial ingredients are less healthy than food products with natural ingredients.

How focused are consumers on the question of food authenticity? Seventy-seven percent said they review food labels all the time or sometimes. Only 6 percent said never.

What is driving this consumer interest in food authenticity? Another survey found that 90 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Food products with artificial ingredients are less healthy than food products with natural ingredients.” That says a mouthful on why healthy food sales are growing at three times the rate of conventional foods.

Listen up, politicians! Consumers support home energy-efficiency and solar

The great news is that, even though we live in larger homes compared to historical averages, we are using 40 percent less energy per square foot. Even with this success homeowners, unlike some state politicians, are keenly focused on increased energy efficiency and rooftop solar power. This is representative of another Green Economic Revolution consumer mega-trend.

Today’s consumers want solutions that cost less and mean more. The appeal of home energy-efficiency, plus solar power, not only reduces environmental impacts measured by healthier local air, but it is also a proven, and growing, path for reducing electricity bills.

Cost less, mean more will be a growing tension between consumers, politicians, regulators and utilities. Requiring utilities to buy more renewable energy will reduce environmental impacts if fossil fuel burning is reduced. Requiring utilities to buy renewable energy may reduce their fuel costs as solar and wind deliver lower prices compared to fossil fuels. What the consumer is waiting to see are lower electricity bills from the utility. Not seeing this result will drive consumers in their adoption of home energy-efficiency, smart technologies, batteries and solar.

CSR sells!

The Green Economic Revolution is shifting corporate social responsibility from a non-core staff activity into a key driver of business revenue success. CSR now shapes how consumers view a company’s authenticity and a product’s value. CSR is the messaging path to the aware consumer, empowered by their smartphone, by connecting the dots between their search for “in me, on me and around me” solutions” and a product’s procurement attributes.

The new marketing path to the customer in the Green Economic Revolution is through using CSR to make the consumer the hero by enabling them to save money, solve a health problem and make a difference.

Image credit: Pixabay

Bill Roth headshotBill Roth

Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!

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