As the goal of this blog is to talk about Green Brands and the challenges companies big and small have in creating and marketing them, I thought a good place to start is with the latest data from consumers regarding their perceptions of sustainability and green brands.
The ImagePower™ Green Brands study is a consumer perception survey Landor has been doing since 2006 with our partner companies Cohn & Wolfe, Penn, Schoen & Berland and Esty Environmental Partners. The multiple waves of data has given us enormous insight into the consumer’s evolving perceptions of and concerns about sustainability.
This year, we conducted the survey in seven countries (U.S., UK, France Germany, India, China, Brazil), and found a very involved, informed and knowledgeable consumer who understands what green means, is discerning in what constitutes a green brand, and is committed to seeking out and purchasing green products and services.
For example, regardless of the country, consumers overwhelmingly want labeling that “tells where their food comes from”, that “discloses all materials and ingredients in products” and labels that “are easier to understand” overall. In fact, despite the global recession, 73% of global consumers surveyed said they were planning on buying the same amount or a greater amount of green products in the coming year.
We’ve also seen changes to the Green Brands lists since 2006. To many, the biggest surprise in the last two years has been Wal-Mart coming out near the top of the list when we ask consumers “Can you name a green brand?”. Both last year and this year, at least in the U.S., we’re increasingly seeing corporate brands such as Unilever, S.C. Johnson and P&G, along with Wal-Mart. I believe this is because of the one-two punch of making efforts to become a greener corporation AND having green products that consumers love, connect with and purchase. That, combined with their ability to be smart and effective marketers means that green no longer equates to ‘niche.’
One of the critical questions left outstanding is whether consumers’ desires for green brands are ahead of the manufacturers and distributors of consumer products. Although there are plenty of green brands, big and small, there are still several categories without a green leader or a sustainable brand. It does make me wonder: Are brands missing a huge opportunity? If so, why?