4 interesting facts, science to aliment our strategies to accelerate the shift to sustainability. They also serve to kickstart some pretty interesting debates with our clients!
1. Innovation adoption is slow
Adoption of alternative eco-solutions follow the same curve as any innovation.
The Markitects' aim with Soosteo is to help responsible projects scale up & reach the 'early majority' as soon as possible.
In order to do that, one needs to accept that the tools & arguments to reach the first two groups might be different than the one needed to reach the famous 34% of mass-customers. This majority is more cautious, needs reassurance, has a lower tendency to change habits...
Factors have been identified to accelerate the adoption of an innovation.
2. Millennials ARE already ready
A recent Nielsen global online study (2015) found :
66% of the population are willing to pay more for sustainable brands—up from 55% in ‘14 and 50% in ‘13.
Millennials are most willing to pay extra— 72% aged 34 or below (vs. 50% in ’14).
Sales from consumer brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability have grown more than 4% globally, while those without grew less than 1% (vs LY).
3. Barriers to buy green
Buying green product is considered a proactive green behaviour.
The list of factors that block the shift, is similar to the adoption of any innovation.
Some known factors :
COST : Green products are perceived lower value as perceived higher price. With bigger audiences, economies of scale do their work and quickly bring costs down to.
LOW PERFORMANCE : Seen as less efficient (even people buying green cleaners keep the traditional products for harsher jobs), initial experience has printed in our subconscious that somehow natural products are a little slower, less aggressive = cleaning less, etc. Time was needed to develop the necessary innovations to beat traditional products, and yes, more and more solutions that are AND green, AND good, are make their way to the market. Tesla has been the obvious example for the car industry, or Eezym to name one of our projects with REALCO.
LOSS OF COMFORT : Humans have become used to a certain quality of life and refuse to let go any of it. We now have cars that take us anywhere, when we decide to. Machines to do things for us. Any compromise on that comfort that we think we're entitled to, is an issue. Carpooling means i need to agree on a certain departure time, hence loss of flexibility. Biking to work means i need to shower when i get there, loss of time?
INERTIA : Our brain doesn't like a change of routine. And new habits take time to form. So yes, ultimately all humankind will evolve to sustainable products. The question is WHEN? Knowing COP21 objectives, SDG, seeing climate change happening before our eyes, there's an urgent need to accelerate the shift to greener habits. Or the human era will soon end, while the planet reinvents itself without us... and we become the next dinosaurs, unable to adapt.
4. Behavioral science can help : nudging
Last october, Richard H. Taler received the Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on psychological and social mechanisms which enter into action in our decision-making. In his book 'Nudge' with Cass Sunstein he lays out his theory behind nudge marketing.
Nudges? They’re little influences that softly and subtly steer a consumer choice, based on fine understanding of human decision mechanisms.
Softly as no one likes being forced or manipulated. This choice architecture takes into consideration how people chose before building any choice context.
Examples? It can be an opt-out that gets a trillion times more conversions than an effortful opt-in (Defaults are key nudges in websites & emailings). It’s could be as simple as adding the energy consumption of your neighbors on your bill, and let social pressure do its work on your decisions. Or the tiny (cheap) detail of adding ‘limited to max 12 pieces per person” in a in promotion can triple sales.
What if marketers could use this “libertarian paternalism” to help people to make better choices? Not only to improve effectiveness of marketing activations and make more market share. That's important, but better still : to drive human choices that are the most difficult to make, the ones where immediate & instant gratification are absent.
Nudges can be used to orient people to the wisest choices for their own long term health, to help people to reduce impact on the planet?
Did you find some litterature with interesting facts that can accelerate behavior shift? Please do share!