Brands have become adept in creating demand for new attributes, however, marketers have yet to consistently engage consumers in sustainability. There are two main factors contributing we can use to solve this issue: data on how best to communicate sustainability, to whom, and through which channels; and slimming down sustainability messaging to it’s most effective roots.
Best Resonating Sustainability Claims
- Protecting Human Health
Consumers care most about themselves and their families and prioritize buying products that are made without harmful ingredients to human health.
Ex: “Formulated/grown/made without harmful ingredients.”
- Local Farmers
Consumers care about their local farms and farmers and the long-term health of our food systems.
Ex: “Working with local farmers to use regenerative farming practices to help conserve nature, encourage biodiversity and improve soil health.”
- Children & Future Generations
Consumers care about their children, and providing a better future for coming generations.
Ex: “...for generations to come.”
- Animal Health
Consumers care about the health and wellness of animals.
Ex: "...not tested on animals"
- Sustainable Sourcing
Consumers care about sustainable supply chains, specifically including the terms “sustainably-sourced” and “sustainably-produced”.
Ex: "100% sustainably sourced ingredients/materials.”
- Local Sourcing
Consumers care about local sourcing of products and their ingredients.
Ex: “Made with 100% locally produced ingredients.”
Lower Resonating Sustainability Claims
Overall, consumers care less about scientific causes behind sustainability, they care much more about the effects — unless there’s a specific reason provided to care. I.e. “This product is biodegradable, to protect clean drinking water and marine life.”
TRACEABILITY & CERTIFICATIONS
Consumers have a more difficult time understanding and easily following the supply chain and tracing the origins of ingredients. They also have grown a distrust of many certifications.
Consumers care less about packaging, unless the packaging is made with 100% recycled materials.
I.e. “Mircoplastic-free packaging for human and ocean health.”
Best Practices: The Role of Sustainability
Prioritize the communication of your brand benefit first and foremost - leveraging the relevant sustainability messaging to strengthen the brand positioning.
Sustainability by itself will not secure a leadership position. Consumers enter the category to seek core category benefits e.g., food that tastes good, home care products that work effectively, computers that have good processing power, etc.
Sustainability will, however, broaden reach and appeal, deepen consumer connection, and should be leveraged as a core reason to believe. Identify the salient sustainability message that resonates with consumers and supports the brand benefit.
Link the sustainability claim to the category reason-for-being.
Ex: “100% sustainably farmed for a great tasting product.”
To the extent possible, provide a personal monetary benefit to the claim.
Ex: “Longer life,” “less waste,” “lower grocery bill”
Articulate the claim with an emotional component.
Ex: “Good for the planet,” “Good for future generations.”