Americans Recognize Unsustainable Ways. Marketers Should Too.
Sustainability, or sustainable development, as defined in corporate America refers to a company’s ability to balance the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations by balancing the environmental, social and economic demands of all stakeholders.
The economic buffeting we’ve experienced in the U.S. specifically has Americans embracing sustainability on a very personal and singular level.
According to a recent study of post-recession consumer sentiment, sustainability is the new American dream.
Among the key findings is that “having it all” is an unrealistic goal with 75% of those surveyed saying they would rather get out of the rat race than climb the corporate ladder – and instead, 76% said they would rather spend more time with family than make more money.
The recession has revealed important new consumer priorities with quality of life and peace of mind at the top and a focus on living life in a more sustainable way both from an environmental and financial point of view.
“Consumers didn’t fully understand the idea of sustainability until they found themselves living unsustainable lives themselves – working too hard, carrying too much debt, and not living or planning for the long term. Now consumers are re-imagining their lives for a sustainable future for themselves and their families,” said Manila Austin Ph.D., Director of Research, Communispace.
Complicated & Cautious Consumers
Consumers have increased dramatically the research they conduct before making purchases, large or small. Not surprisingly, trust in banks, established institutions and media continues to shrink. They also view themselves as self reliant, in control and the ones who will help pave the country’s way out of the recession, not the government or banks.
As hearth and home continue to resonate with consumers, brands must tap into building relationships and focus on more one-on-one marketing. Creating a positive experience and celebrating a customer’s self-determination should be part of your promotion and brand messaging. Communicating your value proposition clearly and educating the consumer is more important than ever.
Marketers with their head in the sand want to start paying attention. Consumers’ worldview has moved past the recession, but many marketers are still projecting the stresses of the economy.
The study entitled, Eyes Wide Open, Wallets Half Shut, quickly tells the story in the title. Navigating the challenges of connecting with a post-recession consumer may take more time.
*Source: Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago and Comminispace
For a PDF download of the consumer study, visit the Energy Bulletin website, a program of Post Carbon Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the world transition away from fossil fuels and build sustainable, resilient communities.