What’s Blue and Bigger than Green? This is a question that marketers and brand managers need to start asking themselves as new research from EcoFocus Worldwide is released. While marketers may be envisioning a “green” future for their brands, Americans are coloring the future with “blue”. The 2010 Trend Survey by EcoFocus Worldwide shows that being “green” is just a first step on the way to a more ambitious and sustainable “blue” for consumers. The research shows that for consumers green is here and now. It is often associated with compromise or being on a mission. Sustainability on the other hand, is enduring and associated with enjoying a bluer, brighter world. Mainstream consumers associate brighter colors with healthier environments, bluer skies and sparkling water with less pollution, and more beautiful living and recreational spaces with less garbage.
According to the Trend Survey, 84% of Americans agree that whether you believe in global warming or not, reducing waste and pollution is just common sense. In fact, over two thirds (69%) of Americans say they are ready to make their lifestyles more eco-friendly. They are very pragmatic and economically minded, with small steps and moderate changes being the common approaches for 53% of Americans.
Ironically, the worries of climate change or social responsibility hardly enter into this conversation for mainstream consumers. Consumers are not looking to brands for inspiration, they are looking for practical solutions. Marketers should not confuse responsible and ethical consumerism with mainstream consumer trends because for mainstream consumers the focus is on managing the consequences of consumerism. Brand managers need to:
• Look for ways to marry economic concerns with environmental interests
• Make it effortless (or at least easier) for the mainstream consumer to identify eco-friendly choices
• Focus on pollution and waste, more than climate change
• Focus on family first, and then the greater good.
The EcoFocus research reports that four out of five Americans surveyed agree that “a cleaner planet starts at home”. This means brand managers have to think about innovation that reaches beyond green and the goal of having as little impact as possible to the more ambitious goal of having a positive impact. Messages, products and packaging need to reflect Restore, Renew and Replenish (blue thinking) rather than just Recycle, Reduce, and Reuse (green thinking).