Your company is doing all the right things: You’re making a product with sustainable attributes, your manufacturing process is diverting waste from landfill, and your products contain recycled content. But are these efforts translating into higher brand value at the shelf? If you’re not communicating your sustainability efforts in the right way, you might be missing the boat. Here are three key reasons you can’t afford to miscommunicate your sustainability initiatives:
- Increasing market demand representing exponential buying power: 7 out of 10 consumers are consciously looking for more sustainable products, and the majority are millennials & GenXers. But what do they mean by more sustainable? And how do you get your target consumer to pay attention to your product’s better attributes? Do you know what concerns are driving them to seek out more sustainable options? (Hint: number one is a concern for health and safety, including concerns about indoor air quality and the chemicals that come into contact with skin via personal care products or electronic devices. Two others include reduction of waste and conservation of natural resources. Specific factors vary by product category, of course. For example, in the building materials category, concern about toxic content and indoor air quality topped the list of factors that influenced purchase intent and brand perception.)
Are you elevating your brand positioning to align with consumer motivators to compel their choices at the point of purchase? When a brand’s sustainability message is out of sync with its overall brand positioning, it rings a false note with purchasers, which can negatively impact brand preference. 2. Sustainable product claims inspire purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. By appealing to emotional consumer motivators through sustainability, you are able to differentiate from the alternatives and provide a perceived level of greater product value to consumers. However, making a sustainable product claim that is potentially misleading or vague can open your brand to financial or brand risk. Inaccurate information can put you at odds with the FTC Green Guides, which can engender sanctions and penalties, and making claims that don’t connect your brand to your audience’s needs doesn’t just make your brand look out of sync, it also damages your brand. 3. Brand protection, preference and perceived value. Properly executed third-party certified claims are preferred by professional B2B purchasers and consumers alike. The brand protection offered by reputable third-party certification or validation of environmental claims also provides assurance of quality and protects B2B purchasers’ professional reputation. For consumers, a third-party certification label can serve as a reliable translator of technical and scientific claims for consumers and convey a higher level of trust in a world rife with greenwashing. Brand preference and perceived value are strongest in products with certified claims.
To get more insights on consumer engagement with sustainability and the impact of “green” product claims on purchase intent and brand perception, download UL’s full report, Under the Lens: Claiming Green.