Being Here Now & Clean Sweep

Sustainable Life Media Here is a second installment of JP Collins' analysis of the Natural Marketing Institute's annual trends report (you can read the first here).  This time he discusses how companies that take advantage of the new market of green consumers by advertising their green initiatives or products as their customers are becoming more aware will need to support their advertising beyond the imagery.

Posted July, 2009

By JP Collins, Sustainable Life Media

At the beginning of 2009, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI)
released its annual trends report for the coming year. For 2009, they
found the overarching theme for 2009 is what they call "Recalibration."
The report goes on to say that consumers are desiring "The Middle Way"
or in other words revising lifestyles to reflect "comfort, safety,
sustainability and moderation."

For the next few months I'm choosing one or more of the 10 trends
outlined in NMI's initial report, go into more depth and explore how
they effect change with customers and how we do business. Last month I
talked about people participating in their communities. This month I'm
combining two ideas: Being Here. Now. and Clean Sweep By JP Collins


In my last newsletter, I talked about how people are looking to engage
more in their communities in a variety of ways from crafting or cooking
classes to knitting or reworking old machines into new things. The
trend of affiliation crosses into the trend of being here now, with
consumers looking to slow down and engage in the world through more
meaningful relationships and practices. This trend is about the need to
explore, experience and learn, and is driven by the over-abundance and
over-indulgence of multitasking; constantly being wired to text
messages or online communities. Although these consumers are continuing
to use tools like texting or Facebook, there is a general feeling that
these things rob us of being in the present moment and are being used
more purposefully.

To counteract hyper connectivity and hyper-doing, consumers are turning
to spiritual practices: meditation, yoga, or are moving more towards
eco-tourism, slow cooking and experiential consumerism (engaging
physically, mentally, emotionnally, socially or spiritually in the
consumption of the product or service). Along the same lines consumers
are ridding their homes and lives of anything toxic. In a trend I'm
labeling (for this article) as the "Clean Sweep" people are seeking
ways to live cleaner, healthier lives by taking a close look at the
cleaning products, food, and household items they eat or drink from.

These two trends dovetail through consumers paying attention to
what they are buying, eating, wearing and how these choices effect
their immediate lives and the world around them. By slowing down,
eschewing toxic products and acting more responsibly; consumers feel
they can have a positive effect on the world through their actions and
consumption.

On the market(ing) side, what you need to know

Marketers looking to engage in this trend are cautioned to not
just use interests or activities such as yoga or bicycling as backdrops
or imagery to sell the same products these consumers are moving away
from. Deceptive marketing or greenwashing attempts such as these will
backfire. Instead, businesses selling products and services that engage
directly with the responsible consumer in mind, who understand the
underlying reasons consumers are taking these actions in their lives
will succeed.

Old products like Bon Ami
have dropped their never had it, never will approach and are actually
using the term "eco-friendly." In most cases this would be a mistake
because such terms are easy to use and don't always hold up to
scrutiny. However, because the company can point to its history of not
using harsh, toxic ingredients, they have a little more latitude and
can reach a broader audience–the growing number of consumers beginning
to embrace sustainability and responsibility and not just the LOHAS
consumers who normally embrace non-toxic cleaning products.

New products like Klean Canteen or Earth Lust
water bottles fit into both of these trends. These products speak to
consumers paying attention to both waste and water issues, and provides
a means to address both issues with one product.

As with most of the trends I'm discussing in this series of articles,
authenticity is important but in this case talking about and
demonstrating the values behind these two trends is the key to
succeeding in this market.

__________________________________________

JP Collins is the owner and principal of Pylon Studios,
a San Francisco creative agency that provides graphic design and
creative marketing services for clients in the LOHAS, green building,
and renewable energy markets. JP has over 12 years of experience in
graphic design and internet marketing, and has consulted for companies
like Great Place To Work Institute Inc., HarperOne (Harper Collins San
Francisco), CNET, Apple Inc., Barclays Global Investors and the San
Francisco Small Business Development Center.

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