Make sustainability sustainable (preview)
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Make sustainability sustainable (preview)

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Marketing "green" products often backfires because, much as we'd like all buyers to follow the altruistic "because green is better" thinking, other unaddressed factors intervene to short circuit......

Marketing "green" products often backfires because, much as we'd like all buyers to follow the altruistic "because green is better" thinking, other unaddressed factors intervene to short circuit that thinking, with the result that sustainable solutions fail to gain traction in the hearts and minds of buyers. But it doesn't have to be that way.

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  • 1. Make Sustainability Sustainable Ed Alexander, Managing Consultant Social Climate Group free download at http://bit.ly/SustainChange a communications primer for promoting sustainability solutions www.1socialclimate.com
  • 2. Let’s face it. Some conversations are complicated.
  • 3. Mom, what does Dad do? Let’s face it. Some conversations are complicated.
  • 4. Dad’s a sustainabl… er, a fireman. Let’s face it. Some conversations are complicated.
  • 5. Let’s face it. Some conversations are complicated. Dad’s a sustainabl… er, a fireman.
  • 6. oh. Let’s face it. Some conversations are complicated.
  • 7. The problem: expecting a rational response from a confused audience.
  • 8. “I’m frustrated. Why aren’t more people concerned?“ “How can my efforts create a lasting impact?” We hear it every time we discuss Sustainability. Sustainability professionals ask:
  • 9. “I’m frustrated. Why aren’t more people concerned?“ “How can my efforts create a lasting impact?” … while a skeptical public responds: “Is climate change really happening?“ “How can we be sure, if scientists aren’t?” “How do distant world events affect me?” “How urgent? Don’t we have plenty of time to act?” “So much of it is about politics. I feel powerless.” “I’m too focused on immediate needs to think long term.” “I do my part. I recycle and conserve. How much is enough?” “I wish I had clear direction to take decisive action.” “It seems so overwhelming. I just tune out.” We hear it every time we discuss Sustainability. Sustainability professionals ask:
  • 10. “I’m frustrated. Why aren’t more people concerned?“ “How can my efforts create a lasting impact?” … while a skeptical public responds: “Is climate change really happening?“ “How can we be sure, if scientists aren’t?” “How do distant world events affect me?” “How urgent? Don’t we have plenty of time to act?” “So much of it is about politics. I feel powerless.” “I’m too focused on immediate needs to think long term.” “I do my part. I recycle and conserve. How much is enough?” “I wish I had clear direction to take decisive action.” “It seems so overwhelming. I just tune out.” We hear it every time we discuss Sustainability. Sustainability professionals ask:
  • 11. We hear it every time we discuss Sustainability. Sustainability professionals ask: “I’m frustrated. Why aren’t more people concerned?“ “How can my efforts create a lasting impact?” … while a skeptical public responds: “Is climate change really happening?“ “How can we be sure, if scientists aren’t?” “How do distant world events affect me?” “How urgent? Don’t we have plenty of time to act?” “So much of it is about politics. I feel powerless.” “I’m too focused on immediate needs to think long term.” “I do my part. I recycle and conserve. How much is enough?” “I wish I had clear direction to take decisive action.” “It seems so overwhelming. I just tune out.”
  • 12. It doesn’t have to be that way. we need strategies to keep change - and the conversations that enable change - on track. Confusion and derailment are commonplace. So…
  • 13. Even crisis communicators are baffled. We need a new plan. This is it ….
  • 14. Make Sustainability Sustainable ❶ Know your audience. ❷ Know how to get – and keep - their attention. ❸ Translate data into experience. ❹ Balance passionate appeals before they backfire. ❺ Acknowledge audience uncertainty. ❻ Leverage social identities. ❼ Foster group action. ❽ Make change easier. The Plan: Credit: www.cred.columbia.edu
  • 15. Make Sustainability Sustainable ❶ Know your audience. ❷ Know how to get – and keep - their attention. ❸ Translate data into experience. ❹ Balance passionate appeals before they backfire. ❺ Acknowledge audience uncertainty. ❻ Leverage social identities. ❼ Foster group action. ❽ Make change easier. The Plan: Credit: www.cred.columbia.edu
  • 16. ❶ Know your audience. People are disconnected – by politics: Ironically, many people still do not feel a personal connection to sustainability or climate change. 67% may agree it’s happening, but less than half (44%) agree It’s caused by human activity.
  • 17. ❶ Know your audience. People are disconnected – by “Corporate interference”: Distortion , manipulation and suppression of valid science by corporate and other entities with a financial stake • Corrupting the science • Restricting agency effectiveness • Influencing legislature • Shaping public perception • Exploiting judicial pathways (click to visit the source)
  • 18. ❶ Know your audience. People are disaffected – by biases Example: Confirmation Bias: Embracing information that confirms what we already think, want or feel; avoiding, dismissing, or forgetting information that might require us to change our minds or behavior. Dr. Gavin Schmidt, Goddard / NASA: “It’s all in the long term trends”. CNN: “Do recent storms prove that climate change is real?” Neuromarketers estimate over 90% of all decisions we make are unconscious.
  • 19. ❶ Know your audience. It can be corrected, though. Fortunately, Mental Models are not static. We update them by: • Making new connections with existing knowledge • Building new frames of reference • Correcting misinformation
  • 20. ❶ Know your audience. Caution: This is not a job for your sales pitch. Address it separately.
  • 21. Product performance / Quality Price Value for the money Brand Health and product safety Promotions / discounts Convenience / easy to use Innovation / new features Fits my identity / style Environmental impact / benefit Appearance / makes me look good Origin / where it came from Supports causes I believe in / Has positive social impact Developing CountriesDeveloped CountriesAll 6 Markets Motivations for Switching Brands Question 2: When you make or influence purchase decisions, which 3 of the following factors would you say most influence you to try something different from your usual brand? www.sustainablebrands.com Fall 2012 ❶ Know your audience. 50% Caution: This is not a job for your sales pitch. Address it separately.
  • 22. ❶ Know your audience. P.S. It is about the money. How we make it …
  • 23. ❶ Know your audience. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/08/01/157664524/how-the-poor-the-middle-class-and-the-rich-spend-their-money P.S. It is about the money. …and how we spend it.
  • 24. ❶ Know your audience. We can only focus on a few worries at any time. We tend to focus on big ones. Right now, Energy & Utilities are tiny. Transportation and Housing are primary concerns. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/08/01/157664524/how-the-poor-the-middle-class-and-the-rich-spend-their-money P.S. It is about the money.
  • 25. ❶ Know your audience. The Ogilvy Earth report:
  • 26. ❶ Know your audience. Close the Green Gap (from the Ogilvy Earth report) • Make it normal People want to fit in, not stand out, so mainstream your message. • Eliminate the Sustainability “Tax” Match your pricing to less “green” competitive products. Price your offerings to fit in among competitive, less “green” options. • Make Eco-friendly Male Ego-friendly Sorry, but men want to go fast and look good doing it. Appeal to that. • Lose the Crunch Eliminate the “G” word or make it “incidental”. • Hedonism over altruism People just want to enjoy your product/service. Help them do that. Source: “Mainstream Green” – Ogilvy & Mather
  • 27. Keeping Sustainability Sustainable ❶ Know your audience. ❷ Know how to get – and keep - their attention. ❸ Translate data into experience. ❹ Balance passionate appeals before they backfire. ❺ Acknowledge audience uncertainty. ❻ Leverage social identities. ❼ Foster group action. ❽ Make change easier. The Plan:
  • 28. Ed Alexander Managing Consultant (781) 492-7638 Social Climate Group @socialclimate For the rest of this presentation, or to arrange a briefing for your executive team, contact: Make Sustainability Sustainable www.1socialclimate.com