We’ve noticed for years, that people who mention health challenges in our focus groups are consistently greener in their attitudes and purchase behaviors. This led us to conclude that health concerns are the driving force behind many green lifestyles. While this might seem like common sense, it flies in the face of the common stereotype that the greenest consumers are primarily motivated by a burning, altruistic desire to save the planet.
Instead, our recent Green Living Pulse™ study confirms that the greenest consumers are much more likely to be driven by a desire to save themselves and their families. We found that more than a third of Actives (our greenest consumer segment) said that they or someone they care about has been touched by cancer, birth defects or some other health issue potentially related to environmental contamination. This explains why Actives are so much more concerned and knowledgeable than others about toxins and chemical content.
In addition, both Actives and Seekers are significantly more likely than Skeptics to say that they or someone in their household has respiratory issues such as asthma, COPD or that they have to be careful about food content because of food allergies.
Bottom line: health-related concerns created the spark that ignited interest in greener product alternatives for many Actives and Seekers. In dealing with a health issue such as cancer, respiratory or dietary issues for themselves or a family member, they became more knowledgeable than the overall population about the impact of chemicals and toxins in the food we eat, the things we touch, and the air we breathe. This was likely their first nudge toward long-lasting behavior change and sustainable lifestyles.
Green personal care, food, home cleaning and home improvement product marketers should seize on this insight and leverage it to better connect with an audience seeking product alternatives to meet special health needs. Differentiate your products with packaging and advertising that directly calls out the health concerns they address. Right now it’s hard work to find the products these consumers need. (You can also inspire loyalty by communicating that you understand and care about their challenges through partnerships with organizations such as the American Lung Association or the Celiac Disease Foundation.) Make it easier for those health-conscious shoppers to find what they need, and you’ll not only attract greener consumers, but ultimately ensure the health of your brand.