Inspiring Millennials on Sustainability: It’s All in the Presentation
If you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, you’ve probably wrapped a lot of packages in the last few weeks. And you most likely spent some time choosing the right paper and ribbons to make the package look its best. If a gift is carefully wrapped, isn’t the recipient more excited to open it?
Packaging matters. Whether you’re giving a gift, selling a product, or trying to inspire a certain type of behavior, how the item is presented can greatly affect the way it’s received.
New research offers some insights into how people – specifically that most valuable of demographics, those aged 18-34 – respond to messages about sustainability. As this article in The Guardian explains, millennials care about the health of the planet, but they need to be shown how their choices will make a tangible difference.
One of the biggest hurdles in appealing to millennials is skepticism – they are wary of believing the claims businesses make in order to sell products. They also tend to respond better to direct calls of action than broad appeals about helping the environment. And they are heavily influenced by their peers, especially via social media.
Our new report, Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication, offers tips for dealing with skepticism and making behavior change easy. To help millennials (or anyone) see the value in sustainable actions, we can:
• Show them how they can make a difference by putting climate solutions and the benefits of action front and center
• Focus on what can and is already being done to fight climate change, both collectively and individually
• Help them imagine a future where climate solutions are making people’s lives better
• Show them how climate-friendly behavior is becoming the social norm
Our climate message is valuable, timely, and practical. We just need to make sure it’s packaged in a way that’s inspiring as well.
David Benady, contributor to The Guardian
The task of persuading the public to live more sustainably is getting a boost from the latest technology which is showing how we react to sustainability messages in the real world.
The rapid uptake of smartphones and tablets is helping spread the message about sustainable living with “circular economy” digital platforms such as Airbnb and car trip sharing scheme BlaBlaCar, making sustainability cool with the young. Meanwhile, social media has proved to be a powerful tool for promoting the benefits of sustainable living.
But businesses are struggling to find ways of coaxing consumers into choosing more environmentally friendly products and services and perhaps pay a little more for them. Recent research shows that the important younger audience of millennials aged 18 – 34 are eager to help save the planet, but they are unclear on how they can contribute. Millennials are often skeptical about the claims of businesses and they need to be inspired by brands to get involved with sustainable living.
Image credit: BT