The Aspirational Consumer: 2.5 Billion People Redefining Responsible Consumption

8 10 2013

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A new global consumer study confirms the rise of nearly 2.5 billion consumers globally who are uniting style, social status and sustainability values to redefine consumption.

According to the report by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility : The 2013 Aspirational Consumer Index – more than one-third of consumers globally (36.4%) identify as Aspirationals, defined by their love of shopping (78%), desire for responsible consumption (92%) and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society (58%). The study draws from a telephone and in-person survey of more than 21,000 consumers across 21 international markets conducted in April 2013.

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According to Eric Whan, Sustainability Director at GlobeScan, “Aspirationals are materialists who define themselves in part through brands and yet they believe they have a responsibility to purchase products that are good for the environment and society.  By engaging Aspirational consumers, brands can further the shift toward more sustainable consumption and influence behavior change at scale.”

Key characteristics of Aspirational consumers include:

  • Trust in Brands: Nearly six in ten Aspirational consumers globally say they “trust global companies to act in the best interest of society” (58%), compared with 52% of all consumers;
  • Seek Style and Status: Three-fourths of Aspirational consumers say “I want to stand out by the way I look, my style” (73%), compared to 53% of all consumers;
  • Positive Influencers: Nearly nine in ten Aspirational consumers say “I encourage others to buy from socially and environmentally responsible companies” (88%), compared to 63% of all consumers;
  • Empowered Shoppers: Nearly eight in ten Aspirational consumers say “shopping for new things excites me” (78%), compared to 48% of all consumers, and believe they “can change how a company behaves based on my purchase decisions” (78%), compared with 66% of all consumers;
  • Responsible Consumers: Nine in ten Aspirational consumers say “I believe we need to consume less to preserve the environment for future generations” (92%), compared to 75% of all consumers, and that they are “willing to pay more for products produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way” (91%) compared to 64% of all consumers;
  • Young and Urban: Demographically, Aspirational consumers make up the largest percentage of Millennial (40%) and GenX (37%) generations, compared to 32% and 33% in the general population, respectively, and nearly six and ten (59%) live in cities; and
  • Strength in Emerging Markets: Countries with the largest populations of Aspirational consumers include China (46%), Nigeria (45%), Pakistan (44%), India (42%), Australia (41%), Canada (40%), Indonesia (38%), Greece (37%), France (36%), USA (36%), Turkey (35%) and the UK (34%).

“Driven by young, optimistic consumers in emerging markets and amplified by technology and social media’s influence, Aspirationals represent a powerful shift in sustainable consumption from obligation to desire,” said Raphael Bemporad, co-founder and chief strategy officer at brand innovation consultancy BBMG. “With Aspirationals, the sustainability proposition has changed from being the ‘right thing to do’ to being the ‘cool thing to do,’ and brands have a profound opportunity to harness sustainable design and societal values to inspire the next generation of commerce and create positive impact in the world.”

“For decades, green marketers have been speaking to the wrong consumers, assuming that by engaging the most committed ‘advocates’ we would create significant business growth, cultural relevance and change at scale,” Bemporad added. “What makes Aspirationals so compelling is that they combine an authentic commitment to sustainability with a love of shopping, design and social status, aligning economic, cultural and social forces to shift the way we shop.”

“With 2.5 billion consumers worldwide, Aspirationals offer an important opportunity to redefine sustainable consumption,” said Mark Lee, Executive Director at SustainAbility. “Like never before, brands can engage Aspirationals to pioneer new models and practices that can deliver economic growth while reducing negative impacts on the environment.”

 

Read the original press release on CSR Wire.

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Made Movement: Buy 5% more American made products for 1 million jobs

20 08 2013

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Alex Bogusky, our old friend – reformed advertising creative director turned consumer advocate, has launched a new campaign for the Made Movement challenging Americans to buy 5% more American made products.  The result of the Made Movement 5% pledge will yield one million jobs for Americans.

Bogusky has created a video explaining the campaign and asks viewers to share the video with two people.  You can watch the Million Jobs Project video here.

According to an article in USA Today, Bogusky says “there’s hippie value now to Made in America.  Red, white and blue are the new green.”  But he cautions in the video, “Sometimes, even if you think a brand is American, even if there’s an American flag on the package, it might not be made here.  You have to pay attention.”

You can read the full article in USA Today here.

USA Today: Ad guru attacks outsourcing, seeks to save jobs





Asda UK: The new weird is to do nothing.

14 12 2011

The retailer Asda has 500 stores across the United Kingdom, serves more than 18 million customers a week, and has a home shopping busienss that serves over 98% of UK homes.

Adsa just released the results of research it did with over 6,000 Asda customers – who they affectionately have labeled Everyday Experts.

Results from the research are encouraging and revealing.  One of the most compelling findings is that levels of caring about sustainability issues did not vary among high, middle or low income participants.

Other key findings in the report included:

  • 80% said they plan to continue or increase the number of green products they buy.
  • 80% said they buy green products because they think it’s just the right thing to do.
  • 70% said they care about being green—no matter what their gender, age, location or income level, with more than a quarter (28%) saying they care very much indeed.

You can access the Asda research here.





Back to the Start: Inspiration from Chipotle

31 08 2011

Willie Nelson sings Coldplay’s riveting “The Scientist” as Chipotle and film-maker Johnny Kelly dramatically depicit how our food and farming system has spun out of control.  

 

Great effort of sustainable branding from this rare thought leader in the quick service restaurant industry.





Fair Trade Certified Labeled Products Increases Sales.

28 04 2011
Researchers from Harvard, the London School of Economics and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Release Study on the Value of Ethical Labeling

Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States, reports new findings which confirm that the prominent appearance of the Fair Trade Certified™ label increases sales  among coffee-buying consumers.

To investigate the topic of consumer demand for Fair Trade products, researchers Jens Hainmueller of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michael J. Hiscox of Harvard University, and Sandra Sequeira of the London School of Economics, conducted a six-month research study in partnership with a prominent national grocery retailer. As reported this weekend in the Wall Street Journal, the team examined purchasing behavior among actual consumers at 26 stores and key findings show that:

  • The Fair Trade Certified label alone has a large positive impact on sales.
  • Sales of the two most popular bulk coffees sold in each of the 26 test stores increased by up to 13 percent when labeled as Fair Trade Certified.
  • The study also revealed that a substantial segment of consumers are willing to pay up to eight percent more for a product bearing the Fair Trade Certified label.

The findings are consistent with a Globescan study conducted in 2010, which revealed that 75 percent of consumers said Fair Trade certification makes them feel “very positive or positive” about products; 30 percent said Fair Trade is “likely to increase their purchase interest;” and over half said “independent third-party certification is the best way to verify” a product’s social and environmental claims.

Overall the findings suggest that there is substantial consumer support for Fair Trade,” said Michael J. Hiscox of Harvard University. “The Fair Trade label by itself had a large positive effect on sales, indicating that a substantial number of coffee buyers place a positive value on Fair Trade certification. In addition, a sizeable segment of coffee buyers were willing to pay a premium for coffee if the premium was directly associated with support for Fair Trade. The tests suggest that there are plenty of consumers ready to vote with their shopping dollars to support Fair Trade when it is offered as an option by retailers.”

The study can be referenced online at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1801942.






Real World Green: Winning Retailers See Sustainability As Competitive Advantage

11 08 2009

IMG_1165“Make green an integral part of your brand promise, and don’t wait to be pushed into action by eco-savvy consumers.  The store is a great place to begin – there is something every retailer can do today to reduce the amount of energy used.  But there is not “magic bullet” tactic for buildng a “green brand.”

-Real World Green:  The Role of Environmental Savings in Retail

The Retail Industry Leaders Association just issued it 2009 Benchmark Report on environmental sustainability in retail—which demonstrates how quickly retailer attitudes toward green initiatives as both a business economic driver and brand reputation indictaor have moved in the past 12 months, despite the recession.

The survey of nearly 100 retailers across all retail categories and company sizes finds some significant new findings toward sustainability practices.  The analysis divides retailers into “winners” – those retailers who’s revenue performance is besting industry average and “laggards” – those that are obviously falling behind.

The results illuminate that the “winners” of the past year in retail are significant more enlightened and deeply committed to driving sustainability initiatives into their operations and appreciate the benefit it will provide for their brand.  Whether or not their current customers are demanding it.

Some of the interesting factoids from the research impressed us.

  • 55% of retail “winners” see environmentally sound practices as both a “ethical obligation” and “to be seen as an industry leader”.
  • 80% of retail “winners” say that their customers expecting them to act is a key influencer to pursue green initiatives
  • 71% of retailers agree that “marketing our brand as “ecologically-conscious will have a profound impact on our brand image”

To further demonstrate how sustainability is a key topic on the minds of executive leadership of these retail companies: 87% of respondents believe the CEO has the greatest future potential of influencing their company’s leadership on sustainability—followed by the VP Marketing at 64%.  This would support our belief that those executive positions most responsible for overall brand and company reputation and image are going to be driving strategic sustainability initiatives in the future.

Read the Report:  Real-World Green_ The Role of Environmental Savings in Retail