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Buying Green Products. Not Buying Global Warming
Significantly more consumers are looking for green products this year than last. At the same time, dramatically fewer consumers believe that global warming is occurring and is mostly due to human activity. Now only 49% of the population believes in climate change while 63% wants to buy sustainable products. How can that be?

First, nobody ever said consumers were rational. We’re talking about the same people who say they are way too busy, and then go to three different stores to do their weekly grocery shopping.

Second, it’s becoming clear that being viewed as altruistic and gaining social status may be stronger motivators for green purchases than saving the planet.

According to research from the University of Minnesota, many consumers choose different products when they shop in public vs shop at home. In the store, they buy energy saving light bulbs and green cleaning products. When they shop online, those same consumers purchase cheaper incandescent bulbs and conventional cleaners. Why? They make in-store purchases to signal that they are caring people who have enough money that they can afford to be altruistic. That increases their status. In private, they choose the more economical options. That increases their bank balance.

We should think about...
  • Are we positioning our green products to tap into consumers’ strongest motivators?
  • How can we remain authentic about our desire to save the planet while still engaging mainstream consumers?

If you need help figuring out how to best position your brand to connect with consumers, please give Brandology a call at 925-417-2253. We are expert at developing effective positionings and engaging marketing communications.
Sources: Psychology Today, 2010; Shelton Group 2010
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