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Communicating Sustainability: Influencing Consumer Behavior
March 2, 2012
Communicating the benefits of sustainable behavior so it resonates on a personal level with consumers, consequently sparking a change in action, is one of the primary challenges companies face today. Throughout the month of March, Ryan Partnership Chicago will explore the key tenets of effective marketing communication and how best to incorporate these principles into sustainability messaging.
As noted in a number of recent market research reports (Canadian Business Sustainability Challenges 2012; Unilever’s Five Levers for Change; RILA’s 2012 Retail Sustainability Report), communicating the benefits of sustainable behavior so it resonates on a personal level with consumers, consequently sparking a change in action, is one of the primary challenges companies face today. Throughout the month of March, Ryan Partnership Chicago, co-authors of One Green Score for One Earth and Styling Sustainability, will explore the key tenets of effective marketing communication, offering recommendations on how best to incorporate these principles into brands’ sustainability messaging.
This article is one in a series sponsored by Ryan Partnership Chicago on the topic of Communicating Sustainability.
Beginning with an insight is at the core of all successful communication. Ryan Partnership Chicago will start their editorial series with a critical assessment of how insights can be leveraged to drive sales while shifting behavior to more sustainable practices. The article will focus on defining what exactly an insight is, and provide actionable advice on how to go about generating it in the first place—whether you have a substantial research budget or simply rely on your instincts to uncover what motivates consumer purchasing behavior.
Constructing an Idea
Next, the theme or idea that is expressed in brands’ consumer-facing marketing will be analyzed. Ryan Partnership Chicago credits the idea in any type of brand communication to be the “so what” or the reason why individuals will notice a brands marketing in the first place, and then act on the messaging. This article will provide a framework from which brands can formulate their campaign ideas, and in so doing, convey clear and stimulating communication to their audience.
Implementing the Message
In the final segment of the series, Ryan Partnership Chicago will draw on earlier consumer research and 28+ years of brand marketing experience to explore how brands should implement consumer-facing campaigns. The article delves into which mediums are most relevant when using certain messages and/or calls to action, as well as whether communication should be customized from medium-to-medium.
Upcoming Research Study-An Invitation to Participate
Ryan Partnership Chicago is also extremely pleased to announce a research partnership with Sustainable Brands on an upcoming study that will further understanding of communicating sustainability to consumers.
While packaged goods often lead the field in the creation of widely-recognized, behavior changing sustainability programs, little research exists on the best practices these companies have pioneered to initiate shifts in consumer action. The study will examine what works and how those methods might translate to the apparel and consumer electronics industries–two sectors that often follow the example set by CPG retailers and manufacturers.
Over the coming months Ryan Partnership Chicago will be interviewing a number of companies to learn what steps they’re taking to better educate and engage consumers/shoppers in sustainability, as well as identify the resources they may be lacking and the external stakeholders that could assist in bridging those gaps.
If you’re organization would like to participate in this study, please contact Thomas Miner at Sustainable Brands - firstname.lastname@example.org.