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Behavior Change
Driving Sustainable Growth Through Brand-Led Culture Change

Building a culture of sustainable living can only be achieved when brands and consumers align their efforts and take action together on the most impactful behaviors.

As we discuss often here at Sustainable Brands® (SB), brands are uniquely equipped to align business and society on the path to a flourishing future. With the rising popularity of sustainable living, demand for innovative sustainable products and services continues to increase. This reality provides brands with the opportunity to explore new business avenues and boost growth while playing an active role in shaping the future of society and our planet. By developing brand-led solutions that encourage sustainable shifts, brands can not only gain a competitive edge but also enhance their relevance, strengthen brand trust, and generate increased consumer engagement and brand love. This approach positions them at the forefront of harnessing the power of brand influence for positive change.

SB Socio-Cultural Trends Research™ shows that sustainability has become mainstream: Three years of data consistently show that 96 percent of US citizens try to behave in ways that protect the planet, its people, and its resources. This research, conducted in partnership with Ipsos, focuses on the changing drivers and behaviors of mainstream consumers at the intersection of brands and sustainable living. Consumer actions and intentions are analyzed through a selection of previously researched, defined sustainable behaviors — as well as the persistent intention-action gap. To spark brand-led cultural shifts in consumer behavior, brands must bridge the gap between what customers are already doing and brand-purpose initiatives. This means aligning their efforts more explicitly with existing intentions.

To better understand where brands can have the most impact on driving consumer behavior change, qualitative and quantitative research was conducted to consider the behaviors that brands could influence — and consumers could meaningfully act upon — to have the strongest impact on people, planet and society; these actions became the basis for the SB Nine Sustainable Behaviors™ framework. The behaviors are written to be as consumer-friendly, approachable and accessible as possible, grouped within three broad categories. They are applicable to any brand, in any industry along with any consumer, in any segment. All brands can align their sustainability and marketing strategies with at least one of these behaviors.

By demonstrating leadership around the SB Nine Sustainable Behaviors, brands can set themselves on a path that not only deepens their relevance and recognition, but also begins to transform the cultural stories shaping our shared future. Those who do it well will shine and win in the marketplace. SB research shows that US citizens view climate change as the second most critical issue to address — with 8 in 10 saying they want to take action to reduce their carbon footprint. Moreover, they want brands to support their efforts — with 85 percent saying they are loyal to brands that help them achieve a better and more balanced life. However, when it comes to measuring brand trust, consumers say that brands acting to benefit society and the planet is a stronger driver than a brand helping consumers to make environmentally conscious or socially responsible choices — they want to see companies taking responsibility: 78 percent say they support companies that act sustainably by purchasing their products or services.

The most successful brand leaders in this space understand that brand action and consumer action are two sides of the same coin. Consumers are looking to brands for sustainable solutions; and brands have the ability to lead society toward a reality where sustainable products and services are the norm in the marketplace. Building a culture of sustainable living can only be achieved when brands and consumers align their efforts and take action together on the most impactful behaviors.

Learn more with industry peers and leaders

Dive further into this nuanced topic while discovering more insights on how today’s brands can enlist consumers in building a better tomorrow at the SB Brand-led Culture Change conference — May 8-10, 2024 in Minneapolis. Unpack consumer trends; understand strategies and tactics that drive behavior change; and craft culture-changing communications through live sessions, workshops and industry forums presented by the leading brand marketers and experts from around the world.