Consumers want simple solutions. They need simple messages. And yet when it comes to truly sustainable products and packaging, the reality is quite complex and often requires consumer behaviour change. Leading brands are increasingly investing significant resources to develop and implement innovative solutions that ensure a sustainable lifecycle for products and packaging. The same brands then face a communication challenge: How should they effectively tell their story of progress and innovation in a simple and compelling way that both informs and leads to behaviour change?
This conundrum is particularly evident for recyclable products and packaging. North American consumers want to recycle but the right recycling behaviours are sometimes lacking. For example, recent campaigns initiated by major recycling companies, stewardship organizations, communities and brands have focused on “caps on” for beverage bottles, emptying organics from food containers, and keeping loose plastic bags out of curbside recycling bins. These campaigns are led with simple messages, but the need is driven by the complexity of the recycling system.
So how can and should brands focused on the circular economy and sustainable solutions engage consumers to affect behaviour change? This is exactly the question that Caroline Losson, VP of Marketing at Keurig Canada, asked herself as the company prepared to launch recyclable coffee pods.
Understanding the consumer landscape for recycling
Gaining deep insights into the recycling industry and how Canadians recycle was key for Keurig in both solution design and consumer engagement.
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“Keurig put a lot of time and effort into developing recyclable K-Cup® pods by working in collaboration with the recycling and plastic industries, so it was only natural that we take a closer look at what consumers do at home,” Losson says.
Keurig was aware that the majority of Canadians already recycle at home, but wanted to gain better insight by working with the industry, consumer surveys and panel discussions. Indeed, according to a recent Ipsos survey sponsored by the company, 84 percent of Canadian consumers state that they regularly recycle at home.
“This showed us that we had the right solution, but the survey also uncovered consumer confusion around what is recyclable, what is not, and how to recycle effectively. Based on that insight, we knew we had to focus our communication efforts with clear, simple, and educational messaging,” she adds.
Keeping it simple
Keurig’s consumer education videos were informed by the insight that creating new behaviour is the most successful at product launch. As a result, the company developed a few videos, two already published on social media, focusing on the three simple steps required to recycle the pods correctly – peel, empty, recycle.
“The message of simplicity is strongly linked to our brand positioning,” Losson explains. “Brewing a quality cup of coffee with Keurig is simple, and Keurig’s K-Cup® pods are recyclable in three simple steps.”
Knowing how critical the goal of consumer behaviour change was, Keurig launched the videos only after investing in significant research and testing in order to ensure their effectiveness.
Success for Keurig meant communicating in a 360-degree way that would raise awareness and capture the company’s recyclability journey, while effectively educating consumers on how to recycle their K-Cup pods properly. With that in mind, the company further built on the television ad and developed a digital component with animated social media videos, in-store sampling and three-step demos across Canada; pushed out strategic content through various platforms; and developed a video highlighting Keurig’s collaboration with the recycling and plastics industries.
“Even at the very start of our journey, we knew consumer education would be key to success,” Losson says. “As a producer, we have a responsibility to invest in educating consumers, and to demonstrate the importance of recycling K-Cup pods the proper way. Keurig is fully committed to consumer education efforts over the long term, and we’re excited to continue to innovate in order to build a better circular economy across North America.”
To learn more about Keurig’s recyclable K-Cup pods and access the various videos referenced, visit www.keurig.ca/recyclable-kcup-pods.