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Communicating
Environmental
Friendliness
through Product
Design and
Appearance  improving the green appearance of mobile d...
Communicating
Environmental
Friendliness
through Product
Design and
Appearance   improving the green appearance of mobile ...
layout: sara bengts/perfect white
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 introduction                                                                   9
1.1 Background for t...
4.2 Qualitative Research: methods and data collection                        55
    4.2.1 Semi Structured Interviews      ...
6.7.1.4 Conclusions from the Analysis of the Top Three            101
   6.7.2 The Three Least Environmentally Friendly Mo...
Figure 5    Products favored by the Neo-greens                         22
Figure 6    Examples of successful environmental...
Figure 51    Second phase renderings of the Simplistic, Humble
             and Compact concept                           ...
1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 background for the study

The great majority of Finnish consumers are interested in buying environmen-...
context of their use (Krippendorff and Butter 1984, 5). A product tells something
                 about itself and about ...
to attractively convey the message of an environmentally friendly product, with the
means of product semantics and emotion...
12
1 introduction




                 figure 2 Product life cycle. The phase chosen for this study is highlighted.




   ...
product life cycle, this study addresses the phase between marketing and logistics
and the use phase (Figure 2) and focuse...
14
1 introduction




                 figure 4 Key attraction points of a product’s design with integration of environment...
This study is conducted as a cross disciplinary teamwork, covering the three disci-
plines that are also the pillars of th...
brown are used to express the opposite of the previous. This thesis combines three
                 disciplines, and thus ...
and wide knowledge about everything we had read through. In addition, we were
able to cover different subjects faster, as ...
2 THE GREENING OF CONSUMER
                                                                        ATTITUDES, BEHAVIOR & P...
Later, it has also been noticed that the market share for green products has not
changed significantly over the past decade...
approach was used. The British government is firmly committed to reducing the
                                             ...
Moreover, the results of Wilska (2006) show that the typical Finnish green con-
sumers are women over 45, who are environm...
cutting edge technology (Figure 5). Neo-greens have also been called the see-me-
                                         ...
Although the environmental movement has existed for some time, environmental
marketing still seems to be a rather new phen...
care for the environment. Comparing all the approaches, it seems that the most sig-
                                      ...
lieve that there is a relation between attitudes and consumption behavior. In their
study, Mainier et al. (2001, 198) used...
say they are more likely to buy a product if the company that makes it is known to
                                       ...
Many decision-makers do not seem to realize that green consumers do not have
solely environmental protection related motiv...
other benefits, that is, as enhancement of other product benefits to ensure the suc-
                                       ...
two products do not visually accentuate the green message on their packaging or
housing; the environmental aspects are not...
however, Peattie (1995) divides the four P’s of the marketing mix into the internal
                                      ...
thing including raw materials, energy, office supplies and services such as waste
    disposal?
–   Politicians: In a democ...
Perhaps the most fundamental communication challenge in ensuring a green
                                                 ...
Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance
Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance
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Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance
Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance
Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance
Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance
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Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance

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This thesis studies ways for mobile devices to communicate environmental friendliness to consumers. As background for the empirical research, consumer behavior, product semantics and emotional design have been studied. The empirical findings of this thesis are based on interviews and a survey. The interpretation and conclusions of the results from both the interviews and the survey were projected by means of the theoretical framework. The mobile devices were examined by their design elements, such as color, material, design style and technologies.
Consumers do not usually connect ICT-technology with environmental issues. As a finding of the thesis, it can be presented that the analyzed design elements affect the perceived environmental image of the product. The semantic language of environmental friendliness is obviously young. Therefore, in order to successfully communicate environmental friendliness, the product’s communicative elements must be clear and distinct, even naïve, and create a connection between the product and the environment.
Based on this study, green, blue and white are colors that have the strongest reference to environmental friendliness, while black and pink are colors that have the least reference to environmental friendliness. Natural materials, such as rock and wood, are perceived most environmentally friendly, plastics and metals are the opposite. Simple and purposeful design style is perceived more environmental friendly than showy or technical looks. Technically simpler and more durable mobile devices were perceived more environmentally friendly than music, video or 3G mobile devices, although evaluation of single features was perceived difficult. Also differences between the perceived greenness of different electronics brands do exist. This thesis concludes the research results in four conceptual suggestions for products that support an environmentally friendly message.
The sampling of the research had a majority of academically educated Finnish citizens and, therefore, the study gives information concerning only the phenomenon itself without studying differences between demographic groups. Reliability of the study was improved by taking multiple approaches, by conducting interviews and an Internet-based survey that was accessible by invitation only. Design elements are mostly analyzed separately even though they exist as combinations in real life.
Previous studies related to the topic are scarce. This thesis suggests that the bilateral impact of design elements and the impact of cultural backgrounds should be further studied. Also the testing of presented product concepts is suggested for future studies. The topic should be expanded and deepened by further studies.

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Transcript of "Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance"

  1. 1. Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance improving the green appearance of mobile devices interdisciplinary master´s thesis Lotta Hassi, TSE Pekka Kumpula, TAIK Jouni Riuttanen, TKK
  2. 2. Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance improving the green appearance of mobile devices interdisciplinary master´s thesis Authors Lotta Hassi, TSE Pekka Kumpula, TAIK Jouni Riuttanen, TKK Supervisors Ph.D. Heli Marjanen M.Sc. Juulia Räikkönen Sr. Design Manager Jari Ijäs D.A. Toni-Matti Karjalainen Ph.D. Peter McGrory Ph.D. Eija Nieminen Ph.D. Matti Pietola Lic.Sc. (tech.) Lauri Repokari 1.5.2007 Turku / Helsinki
  3. 3. layout: sara bengts/perfect white
  4. 4. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 introduction 9 1.1 Background for the Study 9 1.2 Defining the Research Area 11 1.3 The Purpose and Structure of the Study 14 1.4 Description of Team Work and Research Process 16 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance 18 2.1 The Rise of Public Concern and Environmental Marketing 18 2.2 Towards Environmentally Sustainable Design 19 2.3 The Green Consumer & Environmental Segmentation 20 2.4 Environmental Attitudes and Behavior 24 2.4.1 The Relationship Between Green Attitudes and Behavior 24 2.4.2 Predominant Trends in Green Consumerism 25 2.5 Challenges in Green Marketing 29 2.5.1 The Credibility Challenge and the Practical Challenge 29 2.5.2 Communicational Challenges 31 2.6 The Perceived Green Image of Consumer Electronics 35 2.6.1 Sustainability and ICT – research by the Finnish ministry of environment 35 2.6.2 Environmental Appearance of Electronics – research by Stilma et al. 36 2.6.2.1 Studying Environmental Appearance 36 2.6.2.2 Attributes of Environmental Appearance 37 3 product semantics & emotional design 39 3.1 The Four Dimensions of a Product 39 3.2 Communicating Through Products 42 3.2.1 Visual Cues 42 3.2.2 Product Design as a Language 43 3.3 Emotional Design 46 3.3.1 The Emotional Side of Products 46 3.3.2 Affective System and its Four States 47 3.3.3 Emotional Response 50 3.3.4 Product Emotions 50 3.4 Semantics and Emotional Design in Regard to Our Research 52 4 research strategy: decisions made in conducting this study 54 4.1 Research Approach & Methods 54
  5. 5. 4.2 Qualitative Research: methods and data collection 55 4.2.1 Semi Structured Interviews 55 4.2.2 Think Aloud Protocol 56 4.2.3 Grouping 56 4.2.4 Sampling for the Interviews 57 4.2.5 Pilot Test 57 4.2.6 Structure of the Interviews and Demographics of the Participants 58 4.2.7 Interview Setting 61 4.3 Quantitative Research: methods and data collection 62 4.3.1 Internet Based Survey 62 4.3.2 Sampling for the Survey 62 4.3.3 Structure of the Survey 63 4.3.4 Survey Participants and the Target Group 65 4.4 Reliability and Validity of the Study 67 5 the qualitative research: finding the hypotheses 70 5.1 An Overview of the Interviews 70 5.1.1 General Indications of the Results 70 5.1.2 Eco-points Used in Analyzing the Grouping Results 71 5.2 Results from the First Phase: Background Questions 72 5.3 Results from the Second Phase: Grouping 74 5.3.1 Colors 74 5.3.2 Materials 78 5.3.3 Mobile Devices 80 5.4 Results from the Third Phase: technology questionnaire 83 6 the quantitative research: towards the design guidelines 86 6.1 Aim of the Survey & Eco-points Used in the Survey Analysis 86 6.2 Color Evaluations 86 6.3 Material Evaluations 88 6.4 Mobile Device Evaluation 90 6.5 General Attributes and Technology Evaluation 92 6.6 Brand Evaluation 94 6.7 Semiotic Analysis of the mobile devices in the Survey: The breakdown of the Three Most and Least Green Devices 98 6.7.1 The Three Most Environmentally Friendly Mobile Devices 98 6.7.1.1 Nokia 3110 98 6.7.1.2 Nokia 1101 99 6.7.1.3 Nokia 7360 100
  6. 6. 6.7.1.4 Conclusions from the Analysis of the Top Three 101 6.7.2 The Three Least Environmentally Friendly Mobile Devices 103 6.7.2.1 Panasonic X500 104 6.7.2.2 Samsung SGH-Z540 104 6.7.2.3 Nokia E61 105 6.7.2.4 Conclusions from the Analysis of the Bottom Three 106 7 design guidelines & eco-concepts 108 7.1 Design Guidelines for Environmentally Friendly Product Appearance 108 7.1.1 Colors 108 7.1.2 Materials 110 7.1.3 Design Style 111 7.1.4 General Attributes and Mobile device Types 112 7.1.5 Concept Combination Table 113 7.2 Bringing the Guidelines to Life: Suggestions for Eco-concepts 115 7.2.1 tarting Point for the Eco-concepts 115 7.2.2 Simplistic, Humble and Compact 116 7.2.3 Sympathetic 121 7.2.4 Good Quality and Durability 125 7.2.5 Forms Designed by Winter 126 7.2.6 Organic Form 129 8 summary 133 bibliography 136 appendices Appendix 1 Terminology 142 Appendix 2 Colors, materials and mobile devices used in the interviews 147 Appendix 3 Technology questionnaire 149 Appendix 4 Answers to technology questionnaire in the interview 151 Appendix 5 Survey questionnaire (in finnish) 153 Appendix 6 Answers to first phase questions in the interview (in finnish) 173 Appendix 7 Participants’ comments in interviews during the ranking of colors, materials and mobile devices (in finnish) 176 Appendix 8 Ranking of mobile devices in the interview 184 Appendix 9 Answers to the concluding question in the interviews (in finnish) 188 Appendix 10 Results from survey 189 list of figures Figure 1 Green products do not communicate a green message 9 Figure 2 Product life cycle 12 Figure 3 Marketing mix 12 Figure 4 Key attraction points of a product’s design 14
  7. 7. Figure 5 Products favored by the Neo-greens 22 Figure 6 Examples of successful environmental marketing 28 Figure 7 Eco-labels used in Finland 32 Figure 8 Dimensions of a product 40 Figure 9 Form follows function; Indian headgear 43 Figure 10 Bauhaus furniture are a good example of passive type of product communication 45 Figure 11 Packaging design by Pekka Kumpula with Remes & Packart for Polar Electro 45 Figure 12 Basic model of product emotions 52 Figure 13 Research strategy in this thesis 58 Figure 14 The axes in the grouping exercise 60 Figure 15 Screenshots of the survey questionnaire 64 Figure 16 Percentage of participants in each segment 66 Figure 17 Ranking of colors by each participant 75 Figure 18 Ranking of colors (in eco-points) 75 Figure 19 Ranking of materials by each participant 77 Figure 20 Ranking of materials (in eco-points) 77 Figure 21 Ranking of mobile devices 81 Figure 22 Ranking of mobile devices (in eco-points) 81 Figure 23 Ranking of colors in eco-points 87 Figure 24 Rank order correlation of colors 87 Figure 25 Ranking of materials in eco-points 88 Figure 26 Rank order correlation of materials 89 Figure 27 Ranking of mobile devices in eco-points 91 Figure 28 Pictures of mobile devices in their ranking order 91 Figure 29 Rank order correlation of mobile devices 92 Figure 30 General attributes -ranking 93 Figure 31 Grades for general phone types 93 Figure 32 Ranking of the most environmentally friendly brands 95 Figure 33 Ranking the least environmentally friendly brands 95 Figure 34 The Greenpeace ranking of consumer electronics 96 Figure 35 Comparison of brand rankings 96 Figure 36 An example of advertisement for home appliances 97 Figure 37 Syntactical breakdown of the Nokia 3100 99 Figure 38 Syntactical breakdown of the Nokia 1101 100 Figure 39 Syntactical breakdown of the Nokia 7360 101 Figure 40 The mobile devices in the order of their ranking 102 Figure 41 Syntactical breakdown of the Panasonic X500 104 Figure 42 Syntactical breakdown of the Samsung SGH-Z540 105 Figure 43 Syntactical breakdown of the Nokia E61 106 Figure 44 Results and conclusions from color evaluations 109 Figure 45 Results and conclusions from material evaluations 109 Figure 46 Results and conclusions from mobile device evaluations 111 Figure 47 Results from general attribute and mobile device type evalualuations 113 Figure 48 Concept combination table combines the results from all the studied elements 114 Figure 49 Concept collage for the Simplistic, Humble and Compact 117 Figure 50 First visualizations of the Simplistic, Humble and Compact concept 118
  8. 8. Figure 51 Second phase renderings of the Simplistic, Humble and Compact concept 119 Figure 52 Third phase renderings of the Simplistic, Humble and Compact concept 119 Figure 53 Final renderings of the Simplistic, Humble and Compact concept 120 Figure 54 Concept collage for the Sympathetic concept 122 Figure 55 First visualizations of the Sympathetic concept 122 Figure 56 An example of a “Being alive” product 123 Figure 57 Second phase rendering of the Sympathetic concept 124 Figure 58 Third phase renderings of the Sympathetic concept 124 Figure 59 Final version of the Sympathetic concept 124 Figure 60 Concept collage for Good Quality & Durability 125 Figure 61 Concept collage for Forms Designed by Winter 127 Figure 62 First visualizations of the Forms Designed by Winter concept 127 Figure 63 Second phase renderings of the Winter concept 128 Figure 64 Final rendering of the Forms Designed by Winter concept 128 Figure 65 Concept collage for Organic Form 129 Figure 66 First visualizations of the Organic Form concept 130 Figure 67 Second phase rendering for the Organic Form concept 131 Figure 68 Final version of the Cone concept 131 list of tables Table 1 The research problem and sub-focuses 15 Table 2 Product attributes thought to be suitable for linking environmental messages (Stevels et al. 2001) 33 Table 3 Demographics of the participants of the interviews 59 Table 4 Segmentation for the survey 66 Table 5 Strength of the environmental message versus unity in answers concerning colors, materials and mobile devices 71 Table 6 Results from the background questions of the interviews 72 Table 7 The rankings, eco-points and standard deviation of colors 76 Table 8 The ranking, eco-points and standard deviation of materials 79 Table 9 The ranking, eco-points and standard deviation of mobile devices 82 Table 10 Mean averages of the answers to questions in the technology questionnaire 84
  9. 9. 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 background for the study The great majority of Finnish consumers are interested in buying environmen- tally friendly products (Haavisto, Kiljunen & Nyberg 2007, 111–113). However, they still need to be motivated to carry out their interest as well as be sufficiently informed about the green products on the market. To the majority of consumers, the environmental decision criterion comes in when two similar products are rated identical in other aspects (price, quality, etc). At the moment, companies’ approach to environmentally friendly products is mostly technical (weight, energy con- sumption, etc.) or organizational. The promotion of environmental friendliness to consumers has mainly been achieved through means of adding technical informa- tion to the product: labeling and logos, certificates, advertisements and informa- tion on the Internet. Companies communicate their environmental message through different media, 9 but they seem to be overlooking one central means of communication: the product 1 introduction itself. Current green products show no consistent green message – the consumer is not offered any visual clues to distinguish the green products from the so called brown ones (Figure 1). figure 1 Green products do not communicate a green message. From left: Philips Green Flagship TV; Nokia 6650, which was designed with easy disassembly in mind; Fujitsu-Siemens laptop that received the Nordic Swan -label. Design can be regarded as communication - as a language of its own. Products function as means of communication and self-expression while revealing the user’s identity to the surrounding world and arousing personal pleasure (Karjalainen 2004, 22–24). If design is a language, what does it tell us? Product semantics is the study of symbolic qualities of man-made shapes, in the cognitive and social
  10. 10. context of their use (Krippendorff and Butter 1984, 5). A product tells something about itself and about the person who owns it. Through its design and function, the product expresses values that people then interpret. Through its semantic content and expression, the product can create positive or negative perceptions, emotions, values and associations within a person. Emotional design, on the other hand, is a field of research that examines how people project their own emotions, motivation and beliefs into everything they are in contact with (Norman 2004, 138). Norman (2004, 7) argues that everything people do is linked with emo- tions and at the same time, emotions affect thoughts. We interpret everything we experience and see. Through our own interpretation, we evaluate products and also judge or feel empathetic towards them. We can say that a product is sad, aggressive, feminine or, for example, environmentally friendly. A product’s message consists of more than what merely its most outer layers com- municate to people. With electronics, the benefit the product usually offers is an easier everyday life. Therefore, if design is used as a language, how does technology support the product’s message on environmental friendliness? Will consumers see 10 technologies as vanity or as means of dematerialization? In order to communicate through technologies, they must be understandable to the user and presented as 1 introduction enablers (Haskell 2004). The starting point for communicating a message of green electronics is good; Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is gener- ally perceived “clean” without producing significant damage to the environment, and thus consumers consider it difficult to outline the relationship between envi- ronmental issues and ICT. The perceived distant relation between environmental issues and ICT is present at the buying situation, as consumers do not think about the environment when they buy ICT equipment, such as mobile devices. Further- more, buying is considered as a pleasure and ownership is seen as useful. The envi- ronmental message of the product should avoid ruining the pleasure. (Heikkinen, Hirvonen & Sairinen, 2004.) Environmental friendliness is generally considered as a positive quality in prod- ucts. Companies are expected to actively fulfill their responsibility towards the environment and act in the name of sustainable development. The general public’s values are greening, but however, their actions are not yet following the same path. Consumers are not willing to make personal sacrifices to the environment. There- fore, the attractiveness of the product can not be compromised; a green product can not lose out to other products in any area. Greenness is rarely seen as the most desirable product attribute and, therefore, it rarely compensates the underper- formance in other areas. Yet, based on the notion of consumers’ positive attitude towards environmental friendliness, it is beneficial for the product to communicate a pro-environmental message. The physical aspects of the product should be used
  11. 11. to attractively convey the message of an environmentally friendly product, with the means of product semantics and emotional design. (Peattie 1995; Ottmann 1998; Torvi & Kiljunen 2005; Haanpää 2005.) The aim of this study is to find design clues for perceived environmental friendli- ness and apply them in a manner that assures an attractive product entity. Thereby, the product could do both: communicate green values and be attractive to con- sumers. The focus is on studying product design and technologies as communica- tive tools. Is communicating environmental friendliness through the design style and appearance of products possible in the first place and, if so, how is it done? In other words, we are determining whether a product can be used as a means of visualizing green. 1.2 defining the research area The study focuses on perceived environmental friendliness, thus it does not asses the real environmental performance of products at any point. There is very lit- 11 tle previous research concerning communicating green values through product design. The study discusses areas such as semiotics, emotional design, technology, 1 introduction consumer behavior and marketing. These separate fields have naturally been previ- ously studied in great length, but our approach is more virginal: it combines the more traditional areas in a new way. For our work, the most significant previous study is that of Stilma, Stevels, Christiaans and Kandachar (2004) who have inves- tigated the communication of green values through product design in audio prod- ucts. From this study, it can be concluded that visible distinctive differences can be identified between the most and the least environmentally friendly rated products but, interestingly, a Green flagship-product, which claims to be environmentally orientated, was not recognized as a green product by consumers. This underlines the need for more attention to visualizing the environmental performance of prod- ucts. Both Stilma et al. (2004) and Stevels, Agema and Hoedemaker (2001) have emphasized the need for further study in communicating green values through product appearance and design style. Environmental communication consists of the numerous components of marketing communications and communications in general; product appearance is only one of the components. Interesting topics for study would have been, for example, the effect of price on the environmental image of products or studying effective ways for environmental communication in general. Nonetheless, in this study, we will concentrate on design characteristics and a selected set of technologies as compo- nents of creating perceived environmental friendliness in mobile devices. The focus within mobile devices is on mobile phones, PDAs and smartphones. Within the
  12. 12. 12 1 introduction figure 2 Product life cycle. The phase chosen for this study is highlighted. figure 3 Marketing mix. The component chosen for this study is highlighted. (Kotler, 2003, 16)
  13. 13. product life cycle, this study addresses the phase between marketing and logistics and the use phase (Figure 2) and focuses on effecting the consumer’s purchase de- cision by the means of product appearance, at the time the consumer is in visual or physical contact with the product itself. Physical contact is required to assess all the dimensions of product design and appearance, including attributes such as weight and the texture of the material. Marketing mix is the set of marketing tools the company uses to pursue its market- ing objectives. These tools form the four P’s: product, price, place and promotion, of which we address the first: product (Figure 3). This approach leaves out such relevant subjects of communication as advertising, communicating through price or point of sale. Product, in the marketing mix, contains for example packaging, brand name, services, warranties, product variety, quality and returns, which we will leave out of our scope (Kotler 2003, 15–16). Instead, we will focus on prod- uct design and appearance as well as technologies and features related to them. Yet another way of defining the approach we have chosen for our work is through the key attraction points of a product’s design (Gotzsch 2005). Creating attractive 13 products is essential for the success of a business, and environmental issues can 1 introduction contribute to this attraction. Gotzsch (2005) has examined how an eco-design approach impacts the key attraction points of a product’s design. By combining el- ements from product attachment (consumers’ attachment to a product) and design management literature, Gotzsch (2005) proposed a model that visualizes the key elements of product attraction: aesthetic beauty, meaning associations, ergonom- ics, costs and performance (Figure 4). Among the key attraction points, the interest of this thesis lies primarily in the product’s meaning associations, but also in the product’s performance. Monö (1997, 12) describes products as objects with ergonomic, technical and communicative features. The ergonomic features of a product operate when the de- sign is fitted to suit human physique and behavior, the technical features represent the product’s functionality, construction and production and the communicative features are linked to the product’s ability to communicate with humans. We focus on the meanings and associations of the product as well as partly on the perform- ance of the product (Figure 4). We are especially interested in seeing whether performance, which is part of the functional values, also has communicative value, and could it contribute to the meaning associations (Figure 4). Can technologies act as means for communicating green values?
  14. 14. 14 1 introduction figure 4 Key attraction points of a product’s design with integration of environmental issues (Gotzsch 2005, 11). The focus areas of our study are highlighted. 1.3 the purpose and structure of the study The aim of this study is to define a set of product characteristics which according to the consumers, express environmental friendliness. The products in question are mobile devices such as mobile phones, PDA’s and smartphones. The study focuses on product appearance and technological features, and their perceived – not actual – environmental friendliness. Information from literature and previous research will be combined with studies among consumers. Results of this study can be used to better transfer the message of a product’s environmental friendliness to consum- ers, and thus offer an environmentally friendly product that supports the compa- ny’s environmental message expressed by other means of communication. Our research problem is as follows: Can environmental friendliness be communi- cated by the design style and appearance of products (such as form, color, material and technologies)? If it can be, how? In other words, can product design support or harm the message of environmental friendliness? The research is conducted on mobile devices and the results and design guidelines presented later in this thesis are based on mobile devices. However, this does not necessarily mean that the results are limited to mobile devices only.
  15. 15. This study is conducted as a cross disciplinary teamwork, covering the three disci- plines that are also the pillars of the prospective innovation university; engineering, business and design. The team of three includes a student from Helsinki University of Art and Design, a student from Helsinki University of Technology and a student from Turku School of Economics. Thus, the research problem is divided into three different perspectives according to the respective disciplines: business, engineer- ing and design (Table 1). Separate focuses do not, however, suggest that the areas were studied by the representative of the corresponsive discipline alone; the three focuses are different focuses of the project, not focuses of different researchers. The research process is described in more detail in chapter 1.4. table 1 The research problem and sub-focuses the research problem & sub-focuses Can environmental friendliness be communicated by the design style and appearance of products (form, color, material, technologies)? If yes, how? 15 business focus 1 introduction What should a credible environmentally friendly product communicate? How should environmental friendliness be communicated through product appear - ance in order for it to be plausible? engineering focus What set of technologies best communicates the eco- message? design focus How to communicate the elements of an environmentally friendly product through the means of industrial design? This thesis begins with an overview of the rise of greener attitudes, consum- ers and design (Chapter 2) and is followed by a study of product semantics and emotional design (Chapter 3). Chapter 4 presents the research strategy of the empirical research for this thesis. This is followed by the first part of the research, the qualitative research (Chapter 5). The purpose of the qualitative research was to help us find the hypotheses and the key elements in communicating environmental friendliness through product semantics. Subsequently, in Chapter 6, the results of the qualitative research and a semiotic analysis of the devices that performed the best and the worst in the survey are presented. Finally, in Chapter 7, conclusions of the results are presented in the form of design guidelines, and the guidelines are used in creating eco-concepts. In this thesis, the words environmentally friendly, green and eco are used as synonyms. Similarly, the expressions non-environmentally friendly, non-eco and
  16. 16. brown are used to express the opposite of the previous. This thesis combines three disciplines, and thus the vocabulary is accordingly wide. Appendix 1 presents the definitions to the discipline-related terms used in this thesis. 1.4 description of team work and research process From the very beginning until the end of the process, the teamwork has been intensive and all the decisions were made together. The team met face-to-face on a weekly basis – and even more often in the beginning. Furthermore, web-confer- encing provided good means of communicating and the meetings over the Inter- net could last for hours, including discussing, sharing documents and pictures and working simultaneously – this was essential for the kind of team work we wanted to do. All members of the team have studied in the IDBM-program (International Design Business Management) and had already trained cross-disciplinary team work. Teamwork was based on mutual teaching and learning, shared decision mak- ing and open-mindedness, which required respect for each others’ skills and input. 16 The research process proceeded through six phases: 1 introduction 1. Defining the research problem 2. Background study 3. Formulating research methodology 4. Conducting the research 5. Analyzing the results 6. Drawing conclusions – Creating design guidelines based on research results – Creating concepts based on the guidelines The research process began by finding a topic of common interest for the multi- disciplinary team. While conducting the background study, several different ways to project environmental friendliness were studied and discussed, some related to traditional technological approaches, some to consumer behavior and others to industrial design. As the background study proceeded, it became obvious that traditional environmental performance indicators were not sufficient for commu- nicating the environmental friendliness of a product to consumers. Our approach began to unravel as we gained knowledge in semantics, emotional design and us- ing the product itself as a tool for communication. The final topic evolved through several phases into Communicating Environmental Friendliness through Product Design and Appearance. The literature review was divided so that each member presented everything that he/she had read to others. This was done to ensure that everyone had equally deep
  17. 17. and wide knowledge about everything we had read through. In addition, we were able to cover different subjects faster, as we were not reading the same publica- tions. Topics that were discussed were initially divided by disciplines, and there- fore, the person in charge of the topic met prerequisites to analyze and help others to understand the topic. When it was time to make a decision, the whole team discussed until consensus was reached. Everyone’s opinion was treated equally. As the idea was also to learn from others, every comment was taken openly and every subject was carefully taught to all members of the team. After defining our scope, we decided to deepen our knowledge by conducting our own research. This seemed to be the best option since there was very little previous research concerning our topic. The research was begun with qualitative research in order to find the hypotheses for the following larger quantitative research. Students of Industrial Arts, Physics and Engineering Sciences were interviewed, since they possessed the skills for analyzing the factors in question. Based on the results of the interviews, a survey was conducted. The survey was launched on the Internet and was accessible by invitation only. 17 Data from the interviews and the survey was analyzed and, based on the results 1 introduction design guidelines for environmentally friendly appearance were created. These guidelines were put to test when designing the four eco-concepts (presented in Chapter 7). The directions for the concepts were extracted from the research results and, as a starting point, mood boards for each concept were built. Each eco-con- cept had a different approach. The idea was to present different means of applying the guidelines created by us. In other words, the eco-concepts suggest different means for communicating green values through the product. During the whole process, there were three checkpoints. At these points, the cur- rent situation and the outcome were discussed and presented to a company rep- resentative. Throughout the process, the representatives of each discipline worked together in each part of the project. This was crucial for the success of the project – in addition to the shared excitement for the project. The project would not re- main as it is today if the contribution of any member would be removed.
  18. 18. 2 THE GREENING OF CONSUMER ATTITUDES, BEHAVIOR & PRODUCT APPEARANCE 2.1 the rise of public concern and environmental marketing Public concern about environmental problems has developed rapidly after 1960’s. The general public’s awareness has firmly been raised over the years by such land- marks as Rachel Carlsson’s book Silent Spring in 1962, the Club of Rome report Limits to Growth in 1972, and the introduction of the concept sustainable devel- opment by Brundtland’s Commission in 1987 (Haanpää 2005, 30). Today, people are constantly faced with changes in the state of the environment: environmental crisis and catastrophes as well as changes progressing more slowly are reported by the media on a daily basis. The concept of green marketing dates back to the early 1970’s. Yet it was not until 18 1990 that green marketing ‘‘arrived in earnest’’ (Peattie 1992, 46). In the early 1990’s, many different aspects of green marketing were discussed academically. It 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance was concluded that more research was needed on, for example, promotion and consumer needs (Simintiras, Schlegelmilch & Diamantopoulos 1993). However, in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the main focuses of the green marketing literature were almost exclusively the size of the green market and the profile of the green consumer. It has even been claimed that the consumer profile was the only area of interest in studying the greening of the consumer (Iyer & Banerjee 1993, 495). The green ideology bases on reducing the very same consumption which market- ing aims to stimulate. Therefore, the term “green marketing” appears contradictory. But as Peattie (1992) points out, it is not the marketing that is environmentally un- friendly – instead, it is some of the products and services which are marketed. As the general awareness has risen, marketing has been forced to become increasingly green to meet the needs of the market. Environmental marketing goes beyond the conventional marketing concept and can be defined as “the holistic management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying the requirements of customers and society in a profitable and sustainable way” (Peattie 1995, 28). From this definition, the three main principles of environmental marketing can be extracted: social responsibility, the pursuit of sustainability and holistic approach (Pattie 1995, 29). Already at the beginning, environmental marketing faced troubles. The willing- ness to pay extra for green products was less than anticipated. Actual sales of green products turned out to be much smaller than expected by the consumer surveys.
  19. 19. Later, it has also been noticed that the market share for green products has not changed significantly over the past decade. Today, the environmental claims in advertisements, for instance, are often met with criticism and suspicion from con- sumers, consumer organizations and competitors. (Meyer 2001; de Boer 2003.) Green marketing is yet to make its true breakthrough. Innovative approaches within the field of green marketing must be taken, in order to meet the require- ments of the markets of today. 2.2 towards environmentally sustainable design Many definitions of the term sustainable development have been introduced over the years, but the most commonly used one comes from Our Common Future (Brundtland 1987, 8) and describes sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future genera- tions to meet their own needs”. In product development, sustainability or sustain- able development can also be called Design for Sustainability (DfS) (Otto 2007). Sustainability refers to three key elements encompassing environmental, social and 19 economic issues in business activities (Ympäristösanasto 1998). It involves the 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance creation of products or services while balancing economic profitability with envi- ronmental responsibility and social values; the objective is to reduce the negative impact of, for example, a product on its environment – whether natural or social. Design for Environment, Eco Design and Green Design, on the other hand, are corresponding terms and relate specifically to environmental issues (Gotzsch 2005, 3). These concepts aim at creating products or services with a minimal impact on the environment and simultaneously maintaining the high quality. Tischner, Schmincke, Rubik and Prösler (2000, 36) have described Eco Design as environ- mentally conscious product development and design, which describes a systematic manner that aims at including environmental aspects into the planning of prod- ucts, the development of them and the design process as early as possible. Companies are increasingly recognizing the business opportunities offered by sus- tainability. The take-make-waste-approach to economic growth is seen as unsteady in the long term from both consumer and corporate perspectives (Senge & Carlst- edt 2001). The United Kingdom Design Council conducted a study (Richardson, Irwin & Sherwin 2005) that described the situation of sustainable design in the United Kingdom (UK) and revealed that, with the exception of some pioneers driv- en by personal commitment to sustainability, the approach towards the develop- ment of sustainable products and processes is more responsive than innovative. The emphasis in sustainable design in the UK has been on finding technical solutions for material and energy efficiency, though in some rare cases, a broader life cycle
  20. 20. approach was used. The British government is firmly committed to reducing the environmental impact of the British economy, but the financial encouragements and constraints on business and the public are currently too weak to obtain substantial results – a situation that is not restricted to the UK alone. In terms of consump- tion, a government can provide positive incentives or it can educate consumers by creating awareness through media campaigns and by demanding labels and product information that enable environmental-conscious choices. (Richardson et al. 2005.) Many product designers regarded sustainable design as an attribute of good design in general and not as a specialized area (Richardson et al. 2005, 30). Designers also felt that they lacked the skills and appropriate tools needed for sustainable design (Richardson et al. 2005, 31). Even though our thesis does not aim at improving the environmental performance of products, and it does not concern Eco Design directly, the results of our work aim at offering the design team tools for imple- menting the environmental friendliness of the product into its appearance. 20 2.3 the green consumer & environmental segmentation In response to the environmental concern of the early 1970’s, concepts such as 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance theory of responsible consumption and responsible simplification arose (Peattie, 1995, 83). Peattie (1995, 84) defines green consuming as “the purchasing and non-purchasing decisions made by consumers, based at least partly on environ- mental or social criteria”. However, he also adds that the concept of green consum- ers as a specific group is worth challenging. Nonetheless, many surveys have aimed at identifying typical demographic qualities of the green consumer. For example, females and people with a relatively high education and income have been identi- fied as most likely to engage in green consumer behavior (e.g. Peattie 1995; Rex & Baumann 2007). Within the Finnish population, age and gender are conclusive factors. For Finnish green consumers, the following applies (see e.g. Haanpää 2005; Suomalaiset ja Ympäristö, 2002; Torvi & Kiljunen; 2005): – Women are more active than men in environmental protection – Women are more likely to make green purchases – The level of environmental concern decreases when moving from older to younger consumers. – The least interested in green product argument are consumers between 25–34 years (Haanpää 2005, 44). – Divorced or widowed consumers are more in favor of the green product argu- ment than married or unmarried. – The highest educated tend to be most concerned about the environment – The wealth of consumers does not significantly affect the environmental con- cern; in this sense, people are equally concerned.
  21. 21. Moreover, the results of Wilska (2006) show that the typical Finnish green con- sumers are women over 45, who are environmentally conscious and critically disposed towards materialism. However, the income of this group of consumers does not explain their thrifty lifestyle, and Wilska (2006) suggests that the humane ideology behind the consumption behavior adds experiential value to the green lifestyle. Even though the young are often regarded more conscious and critical than average consumers, in reality, it is the middle-aged and older women who do the pro-environmental shopping. In general, the oldest age-groups make most of the pro-environmental purchases and the younger groups the least. The division between genders is also clear, especially among the young consumers; young girls are more environmentally conscious than boys of the same age, and it is reflected in their buying behavior. (Wilska 2006, 46–48.) The green group of consumers can also be described on a more general level, re- garding their personality traits. The environmentally conscious consumers have an interest towards new products, and they are information seekers who also eagerly share information about products with others. In addition, the green consumers 21 consider themselves as opinion leaders; therefore, they might also provide valuable word-of-mouth information to others. The green consumer is a careful shopper, 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance who rarely makes impulse purchases but pays special attention to price. However, brand loyalty is not something common for the environmentally inclined consum- ers. Thus, if companies succeed in attracting green consumers, they must show effort to keep them. As a combination, the tendency to actively seek information and the lack of brand loyalty implies that the green consumer will continuously be looking for new products. However, if the lack of brand loyalty is due to the marketers’ inability to offer good environmental products and messages, providing the green consumer with those, may promote brand loyalty of green consumers. (Shrum et al 2001, 80–81.) The predominant picture of the green consumer is becoming more diverse as the green products are being targeted for larger audiences. One of the new segments within the pro-environmentalist consumers is the Neo-greens. These green con- sumers regard the environmentally friendly lifestyle as the new luxury, and they do not compromise their comfortable life style or quality of life for environmen- tal friendliness. Additionally – in contrast to traditional green consumers - they do not want to decrease the level of their personal consumption. According to Bourdieur (1984), one’s lifestyle is manifested in one’s consumption, hobbies and in everything that symbolizes the social position. Social and cultural codes com- municate to others who we are and - perhaps more importantly – who we want to be (Bourdieur 1984). For the Neo-greens, their lifestyle and values are manifested as they shop for the environmentally friendly luxury design and energy efficient
  22. 22. cutting edge technology (Figure 5). Neo-greens have also been called the see-me- environmentalists, for their tendency to receive value and satisfaction from being able to show their pro-environmental interest through money consuming purchas- es. The Neo-greens have solar panels on the roof, a hybrid car in the garage and organic-cotton clothes in the closet. For the Neo-greens, environmental protection is not about sacrificing convenience. (Pink 2006; Kaarto 2006.) 22 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance figure 5 Products favored by the Neo-greens. From top left: clothing from recycled materials, ecological clothing, hybrid car, furniture of recycled materials. Essential in the products favored by the Neo-greens is the absence of the style and image of traditional eco-products; there is no trace of lower quality appearance, compromises in style or visible eco-labels. The products presented in Figure 5 do not primarily promote environmental values – the greenness is presented as an ad- ditional value. This approach might indicate an upcoming trend, where consumers regard environmental friendliness as a standard, a default value, and they therefore have higher requirements for the green products. With this trend, meeting the requirements of the environment is expected of all products, and the companies that can do it while producing attractive products come out as winners. The Neo- greens might be leading the way for the future masses of green consumers.
  23. 23. Although the environmental movement has existed for some time, environmental marketing still seems to be a rather new phenomenon. Typically, marketing is not slow to respond to the changes in the market or to adapt innovations, but green marketing has not in many ways met its potential. It could be due to the mixed signals from polls, research results and sales figures. Researches on green market- ing and the green consumer indicate that, in fact, the concept of green marketing is not easy to adopt (Shrum, McCarty & Lowrey 2001, 81). Shrum et al. (2001, 81) stress that green consumers must be treated carefully and with respect, because they are careful and thoughtful consumers. When they are treated with respect, they are more likely to be receptive, but when treated poorly, they effortlessly switch brands and take other green consumers with them. Even though the green consumers are generally defined by socio-demographical features, it has been argued that the explanatory power of socio-demographics is weak regarding environmental concern (Diamantopoulos, Schlegelmilch, Sinkovics & Bohlen 2003, 477). When trying to find explanations for green attitudes, an analysis on the influence of traditional structural factors is needed (Haanpää 2005, 23 40). In recent surveys, psychographic characteristics, such as political orientation and environmental concerns, have been used in order to identify the green con- 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance sumer. Such characteristics have turned out to be better at explaining variations in green consumer behavior than demographic criteria. Perceived consumer effective- ness, such as the individual’s belief in making a difference, is considered useful in predicting the actual buying behavior. (Rex et al. 2007, 569.) When comparing the different environmental segmentation approaches, all the main approaches of segmentation are represented: demographic-, geographic-, psychographic- and behavioral segmentation. For example RoperASW, a leading global marketing research and consulting firm, bases their environmental seg- mentation mostly on demographics and the consumerss likelihood to participate in environmental activities (Green Gauge Report 2002). The international adver- tising, marketing and public relations agency Ogilvy and Mather’s, on the other hand, combines demographics and psychographics (Peattie 1995, 160). Marketing Diagnostics defines green consumers purely in terms of behavior. They believe that the way in which the consumer’s knowledge in environmental issues is reflected in their behavior varies considerably. Environmental concerns might be overlooked in order to allow one’s behavior to continue as before, behavior may be modified to accommodate the environmental concern, or behavior may be changed in order to respond to the concern (Peattie 1995, 161). Stilma (2003, according to Nereng 2003, 5), on the other hand, narrowed the green consumers down to two segments based on the reason for buying green; innovators purchase the environmentally friendly alternative for novelty, where selectors make the green choice driven by the
  24. 24. care for the environment. Comparing all the approaches, it seems that the most sig- nificant factors affecting consumer behavior are the level of concern, the likelihood to participate in environmental activities, the optimism towards future development and perceived consumer effectiveness. These four aspects formed the basis for our own segmentation, which will be described in Chapter 4. 2.4 environmental attitudes and behavior 2.4.1 the relationship between green attitudes and behavior Relief to the environmental pressure has been sought mainly from technologi- cal innovations rather than from adapted behavior patterns and lifestyle choices (Mainieri, Barnett, Valdero, Unipan & Oskamp 1997, 189). Though technology has been able to reduce the environmental impacts of humans, the solution to envi- ronmental problems does not lie in technology alone. Consumers must adapt new, sustainable behaviors; the need for change in consumption patterns is evident and 24 globally recognized as an essential goal. Regardless of the increased public aware- ness of the state of the environment and the consumers’ positive attitude towards 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance environmental protection, very little of this good will has translated into pro-envi- ronmental buying behavior (Mainieri et al. 2001, 193; Torvi & Kiljunen 2005, 81– 82). For example, research on Norwegian consumers reveals that a greater number of consumers considers themselves environmentally conscious than the number of consumers looking for environmental information when shopping (Nereng 2003, 2). This discontinuation between attitudes and behavior raises the issue of whether pro-environmental attitudes are linked to buying decisions, and if so, how. Attempts to explain the gap between consumers’ reported attitudes and their actual buying behavior have been the main focus of consumer psychology. Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour (Kalafatis, Pollard, East & Tsogas 1999) is a often used model according to which intentions are determined by attitudes, subjective norms and perceived control. Intention, in turn, may lead to certain behavior, but many fac- tors can interfere in this process; the perceived low or high cost of the product, the existence of alternative products and whether or not the consumer trusts the environmental information provided. There are several studies examining whether environmental attitudes can predict actual behavior in relevant situations or not (see e.g. Mainieri et al. 2001; Moisand- er 1996; Simmons & Widmar 1990). The results vary: some studies have indicated a positive relation between environmental concern and corresponding behavior, but at the same time, a great number of studies report a weak relation. Thus, there is no prevailing consensus. Both Mainier et al. (2001) and Moisander (1996) be-
  25. 25. lieve that there is a relation between attitudes and consumption behavior. In their study, Mainier et al. (2001, 198) used demographics, knowledge and beliefs of environmental consumerism as the attitudinal measures. Based on their research, Mainieri et al. (2001, 202) argue that consumers beliefs about environmental consumerism are the best predictors of environmental behavior and of general environmental attitudes. The general attitudes, on the other hand, do not predict behavior as accurately. Women were more pro-environmental in their beliefs, at- titudes and behavior than men, but other demographic variables were not found to affect the green buying behavior (Mainier et al. 2001, 202). Similarly, Moisander’s (1996, 128) opinion is that consumers’ environmental con- cern may have a potentially significant influence on their consumption behavior, but the relationship between pro-environmental attitudes and specific consump- tion behavior is complex. For example, the environmentally oriented consum- ers do not automatically prefer all the green products over brown ones, and also, consumers do not always have the necessary knowledge and resources required to choose the greener alternative (Moisander 1996, 128). Research has also shown 25 (see e.g Moisander 1996) that pro-environmental behaviors are not highly cor- related among themselves; it is often assumed that if people engage in one type of 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance pro-environmental behavior, such as e.g. carpooling, they will also engage in other pro-environmental behavior, e.g. recycling household waste – but this is not often the case (Mainieri et al. 1997, 192). 2.4.2 predominant trends in green consumerism Regardless of all the corporate investments in marketing environmental and social responsibility, there has been a negative change in the attitudes of the Finnish consumers during the last years (Wilska 2006). The ethicality of consumption is compromised more often than before; the number of consumers concerned about the origins of the food supplies they are purchasing or the environmental impact of their personal consumption has decreased significantly. Similarly, the share of consumers that knowingly make pro-environmental choices in their consumption has fallen from 40% to nearly 30%. This decrease in pro-environmental attitudes has been most dramatic between the ages of 35 to 45. (Wilska 2006, 46–48.) The development of environmental behavior crosses national borders; within the western civilization, fewer green intentions are turning into green behavior, and pro-environmental behavior is becoming the responsibility of the older. For example, in a nationally representative poll of 1000 adults (Gardyn 2003, 13), 80% of Americans say that whether or not a product is safe for the environment does influence the decision to buy that product. Additionally, 70% of Americans
  26. 26. say they are more likely to buy a product if the company that makes it is known to implement environmentally friendly practices in its operations. However, despite these claims, only 57% of Americans say that they buy recycled or environmentally safe products and a mere 6% regularly study companies’ environmental records. Also among the Americans, it is the older who seem to be the best consumers of environmentally friendly products; two thirds of the adults over the age of 45 state that they regularly buy environmentally friendly products, compared with less than half of the younger age groups. (Gardyn 2003, 13.) Gardyn (2003, 13) offers an explanation for the passive pro-environmental behav- ior. According to her, the biggest challenge that green marketing faces is the varying attitudes of individual consumers on their role in environmental protection; 17% of Americans do not think that anything they personally do will make a difference for the environment. The youngest consumers feel this lack of power the most: almost a quarter of both 18–24 -year old and 25–34 -year old respondents agree with the statement of futility (Gardyn 2003, 13). In addition, 18% of Americans think that the products they use do not have a negative environmental impact and that 26 the environmental “movement” has been blown out of proportion. This attitude is also more prevalent among younger consumers and men (ibid). A research among 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance British consumers points to the same direction; only 11% of people strongly believe that their shopping choices could make a difference (Cowe 2000). According to the research, the most potential group of consumers is the brand-aware youngsters, who could become the ethical leaders in the future. Many of the more environmen- tally passive consumers could play a significant role in the purchasing of ethically sustainable products, if they believed they could make a difference. (Cowe 2000.) Also Ottman (1998, 41–42) has an explanation for the small number of green consumers. She stresses that although a small number of highly committed con- sumers will sacrifice their needs and wants, the great majority of consumers are still not prepared to give up performance, quality, convenience, or price in real- ity. Most consumers feel that, when it comes to green products, primary product benefits may be compromised; although many green products are cheaper, faster, better, smaller, and more convenient or durable, some are more expensive, slower, uglier, or less sanitary. There are several research and literature that indicate the fol- lowing (e.g. Stevels et al. 2001; Ottman 1998; Torvi & Kiljunen 2005): – The majority of the general public is positive or neutral toward environmental issues – Concern for the state of the environment is widespread – There are clear information needs and there is sensitivity to green marketing – Willingness to change lifestyle is limited – A vast majority of consumers will buy green products but only a minority is prepared to pay more
  27. 27. Many decision-makers do not seem to realize that green consumers do not have solely environmental protection related motives when purchasing products. Like other consumers, green consumers aim to satisfy their own personal needs. But the difference between the green and the brown consumers is that the green consum- ers make an effort to consider environmental consequences of their actions in ad- dition to pursuing their own interests. Therefore, the marketing of green products should be based on the total benefit the consumer receives from the green prod- uct. The total benefit comprises of two elements: personal or individual benefit, and social or environmental benefit. However, offering these two types of benefits includes problems. First, the personal benefits from a green product are sometimes small in comparison to brown products. Secondly, the social benefits of a green product sometime seem small, because the environmental benefits of the product are hard to understand or controversial (Heiskanen & Timonen 1995, according to Moisander 1996, 119; Moisander 1996, 118–119). Therefore, green marketing still has a long road to go and plenty can still be learned, especially in the area of communicating the pro-environmental message. 27 On a more positive note, green marketing has the ability to offer higher levels of satisfaction and reward as compared to conventional marketing, due to the social 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance and environmental benefits. With green products, the consumers are offered not only the direct benefits from owning and using the product, but also the prospect of healthier, more fulfilled lives and the power to make the world a better place. Ottman (1998) emphasizes the importance of a rather immediate “rewarding” of the consumer for making a green purchase: immediate concerns, such as getting through the day, often restrain longer-term and more remote environmental goals. As an example on mobile devices, the purchaser of a less energy consuming device is instantly rewarded with longer operational time. Successful green marketing also appeals to consumer’s self-interest: it can, for example, show busy consumers how environmentally inclined behaviors can save time and effort. Green market- ing should clearly communicate that pro-environmental behavior offers consumers the dual opportunities of saving money or trouble and saving the planet (Ottman 1998, 115–126). In 2001, environmental attitudes of consumers were investigated by Stevels et al. Their analysis showed results that endorse the thoughts of Ottman (1998); green as such does not sell, and schemes strongly focusing on only environmental prod- uct characteristics as eco-labels are relatively unsuccessful. When, however, other benefits of the products are linked to the environmental ones, a vast majority of the consumers is prepared to give up their prejudice that green products cost more or perform less than traditional ones. From the work of Stevels et al. (2001) it can be concluded that environmental benefits have to be presented in conjunction with
  28. 28. other benefits, that is, as enhancement of other product benefits to ensure the suc- cess of the products. The research of Stevels et al. (2001) showed that there is significant sympathy for green products, but environmental issues as such play a decisive role only in a minority of the buying decisions of customers. Therefore, environmental benefits should be linked to other benefits for the consumer in order to make green a posi- tive force in marketing for the majority of consumers (Figure 6). Such benefits are: – Material benefits: lower price, lower cost of ownership – Immaterial benefits: convenience, fun – Emotional benefits: feel good, quality of life, less fear 28 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance figure 6 Examples of successful environmental marketing: a cartonless toothpaste and soap pads of recy- cled material. Both are marketed on ease of use. As a conclusion, it can be stated that consumers generally perceive that the envi- ronmentally friendlier lifestyle demands too massive changes to their habits and customs, and their ability to act for the benefit of the environment is limited. Con- sumers perceive environmentally friendly products too expensive or of poor qual- ity, and only a marginal group of people are ready to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of the environment. Consumers are most likely to choose eco-products when they offer personal, direct benefit, such as more efficient water consump- tion, smaller electricity consumption smaller packaging. The Colgate-Palmolive’s cartonless stand-up toothpaste tube and Scotch Brite Never Rust Soap Pads (made from 100% recycled plastic) can be mentioned as examples of successful environ- mental marketing emphasizing the use-related benefits the consumer receives in- stead of the environmental advances of the products (Figure 6). In addition, these
  29. 29. two products do not visually accentuate the green message on their packaging or housing; the environmental aspects are not the primary selling arguments, but they are presented as additional benefits. 2.5 challenges in green marketing 2.5.1 the credibility challenge and the practical challenge The most profound change in environmental marketing is the changed relation- ship between consumers and companies. Where traditional marketing aims to influence consumers purely in order to increase the consumption of an individual, environmental marketing should aim at influencing consumer perceptions and behavior in a manner that improves both individual and social well being. Envi- ronmental marketing requires businesses to take the environmental responsibility for the consumer. According to Peattie (1995, 101–110), green marketing faces at least two kinds of challenges: the credibility challenge and the practical challenge. 29 For a company to succeed in its marketing activities, the environmental message needs to be credible to the rest of the company and to the public. The idea that 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance companies can, want and will work for the better of the environment is often met with doubt. Research suggests that consumers are both confused and distrustful of the environmental advertising claims (Shrum et al. 2001, 71). In surveys conduct- ed among American consumers, the majority of the participants preferred buying green products over brown ones as well as considered the company’s environ- mental reputation in purchase decisions. However, only a marginal group consid- ered the environmental claims of companies to be “extremely or very believable” (Shrum et al. 2001, 71). The practical challenge, on the other hand, lies in putting environmental market- ing to practice. Green is a relative notion and consumers in the global economy have different perceptions of what constitutes a green product. In addition to the spatial differences regarding the concept of green, what is considered green also varies over time and is related to scientific and technological innovations. The prac- tical challenge poses challenges in terms of e.g. green marketing strategies, green segmentation, product development, marketing communication campaigns and pricing. (Peattie 1995, 105–114.) The marketing process is essentially about matching the internal variable of the marketing mix with the demands of the marketing environment – in this respect environmental marketing is no different. The marketing mix is also known as the four P’s, a classic model by McCarthy in 1960, which stand for product, price, place and promotion (Kotler 2003, 16; Peattie 1995, 109). For green marketing,
  30. 30. however, Peattie (1995) divides the four P’s of the marketing mix into the internal controllable green P’s and the external uncontrollable green P’s, which better meet the practical challenges of environmental marketing. The internal green P’s include the classic 4P’s together with other organizational factors. The internal green P’s are (Peattie 1995, 109–110): – Products: how acceptable and competitive is their eco-performance in use dis- posal, including their longevity and the environmental impact of components such as packaging and raw material. – Promotion: Will customers understand, believe and respond to a green promo- tional message? A particular area for concern has been the accuracy ofthe green claims. – Price: Do prices need to be changed to reflect the difference in cost or demand for green products? How price sensitive are customers? What is an acceptable price for a green product? – Place: Can our greening strategy be supported by using channels with suitable green credentials, and finding eco-efficient methods of distribution? 30 – Providing Information: Do we have all the information available relating to the environment that internal and external stakeholders require? A green strategy re- 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance quires a new level of openness and disclosure externally. Monitoring the internal and external issues which are relevant to environmental performance introduces an entirely new area for marketers. – Processes: Can we improve our energy and material efficiency, an output of waste and pollution? – Policies: Do they effectively motivate, monitor, evaluate, and control environ- mental performance? – People: Do they understand environmental issues, the company’s performance and their role in the greening process? As can be seen from the above list, the environmental aspect brings additional practical challenges to marketing. Within the internal green P’s, our thesis’ focus is on the second P, promotion, which creates a communicational challenge. There are great many challenges within communicating the green values, and these will be studied in the following chapter. Our interest lies particularly on whether products can be used as a component of promotion within the green P’s - can products be- come means for supporting the green strategy of a company? But, in order to draw a more complete picture of the practical challenges of green marketing, the exter- nal green P’s most also be laid out and considered as a part of the green marketing process (Peattie 1995, 109–110): – Paying customers: How green are they? How well informed are they about green issues? Do they want green products and, if so, what sort? – Providers: How green are the companies who supply the business with every-
  31. 31. thing including raw materials, energy, office supplies and services such as waste disposal? – Politicians: In a democracy, the public can affect companies indirectly through the government. As the major political parties commit themselves to increas- ingly vigorous environmental protection policies, the green voter may become as powerful an influence on companies as the green consumers. – Pressure groups: What issues are they currently highlighting? Who and what are they campaigning about? What new areas of concern are emerging? – Problems: Has the company or any of its competitors been linked with environ- mental and social problems? – Predictions: What environmental problems might affect the company in the future? – Partners: Is the company linked to any other organizations whose environmental performance might affect the perception of the company’s eco-performance? The current development within the external P’s has mainly been on the politi- cians, providers and partners. The changes in the environment do not allow politi- 31 cal parties to overlook the subject of environmental protection. This showed also in the recent parliament election in Finland, where green issues were one of the 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance main topics of campaigns and discussion preceding the election (see e.g. Mikkonen 2007; Keskustan Vaaliohjelma Eduskuntavaaleissa 2007) and where the Greens-par- ty gained an additional seat in the parliament (Yleisradio Oy). In addition to the increasing importance of politics, the role and the eco-performance of a company’s providers and partners has become more significant and more carefully monitored. Larger companies have already for some years been confronted with the demand for being responsible for, not only their own eco-efficiency, but also the greenness of their suppliers. Now also the smaller companies are presented with the same demand (Taipalinen & Toivio 2004, 10). 2.5.2 communicational challenges Consumers are targeted by environmental communication from several directions; organizations and representatives of both profit- and non-profit organizations. To convey the green message can mean several things, ranging from a shop promot- ing a shampoo made of purely natural ingredients to an individual dressed in solely hemp-clothing, to ministers attempting to convince citizens that the country is strongly contributing to saving the rain forests. As a result of either intentional complexity or the complexity of environmental issues in general, the credibility of environmental communication is not always high. (Nereng 2003, 2.)
  32. 32. Perhaps the most fundamental communication challenge in ensuring a green purchase is the fact that consumers heading off to stores in search of greener goods need to know how to distinguish the green products from others. Prod- ucts representing new and unfamiliar technologies are constantly being launched. Consumers’ understanding of environmental issues is growing but continues to be low. Thus, even the most environmentally enthused consumers need to be educated on why some types of products represent less environmental harm than others. Providing such information and education still provides the biggest opportunity to expand the market to mainstream consumers (Ottman 1998, 40–41). Today’s solu- tions are mainly based on technical information presented via Internet, brochures or eco-labels. More attention should be paid to presenting the consumer with per- sonal operations models, proportioning the figures to something generally under- standable and making the environmental information concrete instead of figures. Eco-labels are a traditional tool to communicate environmental performance to po- tential customers. Both government supported and private labeling schemes exist, whereas also industry is increasing the number of eco-labels through self declara- 32 tion (Figure 7). So far most labeling programs have had little success (Stevels et al. 2001; Tervola 2005). The main problem seems to be their lack of transparency to 2 the greening of consumer attitudes, behavior & product appearance the consumer and the unclear meanings and criteria behind the label. On kind of confirmation of this development is the fact that label programs which focus on one item, particularly energy consumption of domestic appliances, work generally quite well – these labels offer customers a tool for clear judgment. figure 7 Eco-labels used in Finland. From top left: The Nordic Swan label, the EU’s ecolabel, the EU’s organic food label, Finnish Organic Food association’s label, Inspection of Organic Production in Finland label, The Rainforest Alliance label, Fairtrade label (Ministry of the Environment).

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