Rafael Bemporad & Mitch Baranowski, BBMG

The post-lunch breakout, held in the big room. I sit in the front row and pirate some power from the plug-in for the Powerpoint monitor. Hopefully I won’t blow it up. This presentation was one of the most requested by my blog readers, so I will do my best to capture its essence.

They started with a great exercise where table-mates shared their Eco Guilty Pleasures; those not-so-sustainable brands we love and can’t live without. Mine was my Mac. Next to me, Scot Case from TerraChoice Environmental Marketing admitted to speeding – despite all safety and environmental impacts. Mitch began his energetic speech with a slide illustrating the huge trend toward clutter.

Numbers of Corporate Responsibility Reports – 2300+
New product launches – Thousands
Explosion of eco trust labels – more than 350!

In short, we risk ‘Green’ becoming the new ‘New and Improved’

Meeting the Conscious Consumer
This agency sent out their cultural anthropologists to 3 areas across the country. They cooked and ate together, surfed the web, lived together. They then brought back hours of footage and photographs. From this they distilled five solid (if not ground-breaking) values the conscious consumers share.
Health and Safety: Conscious consumers want natural, organic, healthy.
Honesty: Tell us the practices, policies and ingredients
Convenience: You have to meet them on price and convenience
Relationships: Who made it, where is it from, where is it going when it’s done. Can I support my local living economy?
Doing Good: Purchase with a purpose.

Their top issues:
90% Safe drinking water
86% Clean Air
84% Diseases (Cancer etc)

When they were asked to pick a term that describes them:
39% said ‘Socially Responsible’
37% related to ‘Conscious Consumers’
34% said ‘Environmentally friendly’
Only 14% said ‘Green’

Nexgt we were shown some clips of real conscious consumers on video, which really helped to bring the statistics home. The most telling was a lady they called ‘The box-turner’. She doesn’t believe the front of the package, and so checks all the information on the back. “Look, it’s only an inch of ingredients,” she says turning over one cookie box, “… how bad can that be?”
This is actually a metaphor for where the Conscious Consumer is today. Wary of claims. Wanting to know more.

Like many studies, BBMG breaks their categories out into a spectrum of ‘green’ behaviour:
Enlighteneds 10%
Practicals 30%
Indifferents 40%

This means 60% of shoppers will come to your brand if you meet them where they are and add sustainability. But one point was made clear: Convenience is a non-negotiable factor. Conscous Consumers want things to be even MORE convenient than the average American consumer. It is a self-centered consciousness.

So what are some brand behaviours that can engage with this growing audience?

1) Offer a Triple Value Proposition
Create brands with a set of benefits:
Practical Benefits (convenient)
Social (or ecological) Benefits (recycled) and
Tribal (community) Benefits

2) Tell an Authentic Brand Story
A good example of this is the Whole Foods positioning: Whole People, Whole Foods, Whole Planet. This extends to their processes as well: Their Whole Trade Guarantee takes fair trade and owns it.

Most importantly, say Mitch and Rafael, we are in a powerful historical moment. We are moving from the ‘What’ (product, ingredients etc) to the ‘How’ – how we do things, how we manufacture, how we do business. Increasingly, consumers are conscious of this. Marketers had better be, too.
Download the white paper on this presentation at:www.bbmg.com Click on News & Insights, then on the Conscious Consumer Paper.


One in a series of articles on Lorne’s Sustainable Journey to the Sustainable Brands 08 Conference in Monterey CA. Click here for the full list of sessions, or here for the ‘Fear & Loathing’ road trip journals.


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