Published 4 years ago.
About a 8 minute read.
Image: Chirobocea Nicu
When SB’s Corporate Member group agreed they hadn’t cracked the nut as to how to create that elusive “pull factor” toward more conscious consumer habits and purchasing behaviors, the Brands for Good collaboratory was born.
In 2017, Sustainable Brands® (SB) and Harris Poll partnered on a
which revealed that today’s vision of “The Good Life” is wildly different than
that of previous generations — a majority of US consumers now define a Good Life
as centered more on connections to people and planet, rather than on material
wealth and consumption. Further, those consumers are looking to brands to take
the lead in helping create the meaningful connections and balanced
simplicity they see as being essential
elements to a more fulfilling life.
Even before the Good Life study, many signs pointed to a consistent rise in
conscious consumerism — and an imperative for brands to rise to the occasion —
in recent years:
This growing demand for companies to go above and beyond should reflect a
dramatic shift toward more sustainable consumer habits and lifestyles, right?
Not so much: There remains a glaring, well-documented
between conscientious consumers’ best intentions and their actions: 2017
by BBMG and GlobeScan found that while 65 percent of consumers said they
wanted to purchase sustainable products, only 26 percent actually rewarded
companies for their responsible practices by purchasing better products.
Join us for a transformational experience at SB Brand-Led Culture Change — May 8-10 in Minneapolis. This event brings together hundreds of brand leaders eager to delve into radical lifestyle shifts and sustainable consumer behavior change at scale. The trends driving cultural acceleration are already underway, and you can be at the forefront of this transformative movement.
This conundrum (and opportunity!) for just about any marketer of a
purpose-driven brand came up at Sustainable Brands’ December 2017 Corporate
Member Meeting, during a “Community Problem-Solving Session” in which Members
brought their own sustainability struggles and solutions, to tap into the
collective knowledge in the room.
VP & Chief Sustainability Officer at Procter & Gamble, asked the group: “As
Corporate Members, is there a collective opportunity for us to influence
consumers to move towards more sustainable lifestyles?”
Sustainable Brands was founded on the premise that brands — with their ability
to reach discerning consumers and connect to them on a values level — are
uniquely equipped to shift our whole economic system; to help shape, and
manifest, consumers’ vision for what constitutes a “Good Life.” But SB’s
Corporate Member group, comprised of over 70 leading companies across a wide
swath of industries, agreed they hadn’t cracked the nut as to how to create
products and messaging that created that elusive “pull factor” toward more
conscious consumer habits and purchasing behaviors. Hence, SB’s Brands for
Good (BfG) collaboratory was born.
Since Unilever ostensibly jump-started the movement in 2010, with the launch
of its Sustainable Living
— which has spawned a growing series of
aimed at fostering, well, sustainable living — brand efforts to steer consumers
into more thoughtful consumption
have reached an all-time high and show no signs of slowing down: KIND
Snacks and Panera
Bread have long
been working to get consumers to eat less sugary and more consciously;
Target has been curating and growing its Made to Matter collection of
products since 2014, the same year IKEA launched its “Wonderful Everyday”
to explain the company’s values and sustainability ethos to its customers. And
in April, P&G unveiled its latest series of strategies aimed at inspiring and
for the five billion consumers served by its many brands each day.
Siloed efforts can and will continue, but the need remained for a comprehensive
approach that any brand could use to finally close the consumer intention-action
gap with regard to more conscientious purchasing and lifestyle habits. So, in
June 2018, SB partnered with P&G and additional design partners The Estee
Lauder Companies, Happy Family Organics, Keurig Dr Pepper and
National Geographic; and participating partners Heineken USA, Johnson
& Johnson Consumer Inc, Target and
Veocel to kick off BfG phase one:
the Pull Factor Project (PFP) — a pre-competitive collaboration aimed at
designing an actionable toolkit for creating communications that can shape
culture towards desiring sustainable lifestyles.
As SB’s Tamay Kiper — Associate Director of Membership and Advisory
Services, and the Project Lead for the BfG initative — explains: “Our
multinational founding partners will use their marketing muscles to create an
increasingly positive impact in their customers’ lives, by inspiring them to
adopt sustainable lifestyles and living the Good Life through choosing better
Together, the group aimed to address challenges inherent to the marketing of
sustainable products, such as:
Eco-friendly products are still often perceived as less effective
Brand efforts toward achieving sustainability often go unnoticed by
In terms of messaging, sustainability is still dry, boring and complicated.
“Marketing has always had the power to shift desires and behaviors,” said
Nicole Pontes, Senior Strategist at BBMG and Project Lead for BfG. “For
example, orange juice wasn’t a breakfast staple until a Sunkist marketing
campaign made it one. Why couldn’t we use that power to make sustainable
At the December meeting, the SB Member group also realized that, while 50
percent of the sustainability execs surveyed reported collaborating with their
marketing teams often, only one company felt that its marketing teams are
well-versed on sustainability issues, and most Members felt that their marketing
teams don’t find sustainability relevant to their work.
So, the PFP ultimately aimed to demystify the dynamics of desire at the core of
human behavior and reveal the specific motivations, drivers, barriers and
incentives related to sustainable lifestyles — basically, identifying the sweet
spot between three components:
… and use those insights to design a toolkit to help marketers increase brand
relevance, grow market share and fuel the shift towards a culture of sustainable
living — in essence, giving this growing segment of conscious consumers what
they are asking for.
“A lot of the brands that joined us are more traditional, mainstream brands that
are saying, ‘We want this’ — which is exciting because they drive the habits and
behaviors of millions of people everyday. Shifting consumer behavior at scale is
truly the last frontier for sustainability,” Pontes said.
Based on extensive, qualitative research of US consumers — along with studying
resources such as the Sustainable Development
Goals, Paul Hawken’s
Project Drawdown and the World Economic Forum’s
to encapsulate the world’s biggest challenges for which brands can help drive
consumer behavior change — the team identified three areas that brands can help
· Reversing climate change
· Preserving resources for life
· Fostering inclusive and resilient societies
From there, they teased out nine consumer behaviors that, if collectively
changed, could ladder up to the biggest impact on these three ambitions:
According to the research, these behaviors will be fueled by 7 “need states”
inherent in consumers seeking more fulfilling lives:
All of these insights were put in a pot, stirred and now shape a comprehensive
toolkit — which was unveiled for the first time on Monday, during a workshop at SB’19
Detroit — that any brand can use to help create that Pull Factor. Along the
way, many of the PFP design partners became excited about the potential for
culture change if more of the SB brand community came together to commit to
leveraging their brand influence for good.
“I love this project because this is a microcosm of SB as a whole — bringing
companies together and giving them the stage, giving them the opportunity to
freely share their challenges and find solutions within the community, to move
toward a regenerative future together,” Kiper said.
Meanwhile, this morning, SB founder KoAnn Skrzyniarz took the stage with P&G
Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard to formally launch Brands for Good — which
will leverage the Pull Factor Project tools to drive a market shift through
brand/citizen activation. The work will begin with the participating brands
putting the toolkit to work in the marketplace — with the goal of inspiring
consumers to recognize that a sustainable lifestyle is a Good Life — and offer
further tools and resources to help them move from intent to action. In
addition, the collaboratory will:
Showcase brands that are making sustainable lifestyles more attainable and
leverage the collective power of brand marketing to make sustainable
Engage extended brand teams (agencies, strategic partners, etc) to advance
the movement, amplify the Brands for Good voice and authenticate impact
Build momentum by demonstrating progress through metrics and impact
tracking, and report on results in 2020.
SB’19 Detroit attendees can explore the Pull Factor toolkit again later this
afternoon. But if your brand has been searching for that missing hook for your
purposeful product offering, join us as
we band together to fuel the shift to a more sustainable consumer culture.
Published Jun 5, 2019 10am EDT / 7am PDT / 3pm BST / 4pm CEST