Photo by Kamagi Ogino
In recent years, consumer culture has been moving like a pendulum between individuals looking for convenience, lower prices, and expedited shipping, to another group of conscious individuals being more mindful of their purchases, asking questions about the social and environmental impact of the products they buy and demanding accountability. The pandemic seems to have been accelerating the growth of this second group of individuals. Have you noticed this trend?
If you did, it means you are listening to a rising number of consumers who are demanding more. Sensible consumers and thoughtful shoppers are feeding this trend.
What is a sensible or conscious consumer?
A conscious consumer is someone curious, committed, and ready for action. These new consumers understand the interconnectivity between people and the planet. They want to live in a sustainable, more fair world, and in that sense, they demand that businesses take action and become part of the solution.
They are aware of the power behind their purchases. To this extent, they are taking a stand by supporting companies whose values are aligned with those of their own, with environmental and social causes at the core of their beliefs.
This rising number of consumers are looking beyond the label; they want to hear inspiring stories and strong values. They are empowered by the potential of social media and how by being vocal, they can demand accountability from companies that are not behaving according to their high standards. The opposite is also true, and when they are passionate about a company, they become brand ambassadors, spreading enthusiasm and cheering for the products they love.
Conscious consumers are activists that understand they have options and that they are the new agents of change. In the words of anthropologist Margaret Mear: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Why should businesses care?
To stay relevant, businesses need to offer more than just a product or service. At TBB, we like to say that savage capitalism traditionally focused on just profit maximization for shareholders is slowly fading away, giving birth to more conscious capitalism focused on generating value for everyone impacted by their business - a stakeholders approach -. This new scenario still has the goal for businesses to maximize profits but it also emphasizes how that profit is generated. Today, companies have to commit, act upon it, and communicate how they positively impact our world.
It may sound overwhelming. But, it is not. It is the new way of doing business and the only path to connect with this group of conscious consumers. There is extensive research from Cone Communications, Nielsen, and other agencies showing growing numbers of consumers, especially millennials, willing to pay more or taking more dramatic actions such as switching brands for products that have been ethically manufactured.
Consumers are talking, and now businesses have to respond. Luckily, there is a growing number of businesses already taking action. Most 500 fortune companies have some Sustainability or Corporate Social Responsibility program. But is your small or medium-sized business ready to make this switch to connect with this group of consumers?
How to connect?
First, you connect by clearly communicating what you are doing right in your efforts to build a better world and generate a positive impact. Your purpose, values, and story communicate what you stand for. Being open about it amplifies the chance for your business to connect with consumers who share similar passions and interests.
Then, by acting with integrity and upon what your business stands for. In other words, by delivering on your promises. Communication is essential, but actions and reporting the outcome of your actions inspire these consumers to be loyal to your business and brand.
Finally, by being honest and open about what you can do and what you are working on improving. This group of consumers wants to know that you have the desire to do good, and they are willing to give you a chance. So, don’t be afraid to say you are trying to be better because these individuals value honesty above all.
At TBB, we help businesses generate the path to connect with these individuals driving the change. We help incorporate elements of sustainability into your business model so your business can also generate positive impact, be part of the solution, and connect with these conscious consumers. Are you ready to be part of this global movement of companies that are being a force for good?