If your organization is committed to curbing water waste, make that commitment count with consumers

by | Oct 12, 2016

Are you, as a company or brand, committed to conserving water? If so, do you talk about it? In a way that consumers can hear you and value the message?

That’s a topic very much on our minds here at the moment. We just published the results of our annual Eco Pulse consumer survey as a downloadable free report:

All Wet?

How consumers perceive the coming water crisis, how much they value water conservation – in general and from the brands they buy – and what it will take to change their behaviors 

The report covers broad territory related to consumers and their perceptions about water use – we touched on both their own willingness to conserve and how much they value it when the companies they buy from do the same.

There are a couple of major themes that emerged from the questions we asked: first, consumers aren’t exactly making a big splash when it comes to personal water conservation. No surprise there, really; our years of experience polling consumers on their energy use shows much the same thing. Consumers didn’t have a clue how much water they use every day, let alone how much they waste when they fail to take simple actions like turning off the water while brushing their teeth. Still, they placed a fair amount of value on the idea of water conservation, rating it as fairly important despite their overall lack of action.

But when we asked respondents to rank CSR activities for a few very specific examples of successful companies (a laptop manufacturer, a beverage maker and a manufacturer of sinks, tubs and toilets), water conservation did consistently well across the board, making the top three of eight potential (and different and specific) activities for each type of company.

We think we’re looking at the classic behavioral science conundrum: consumers may believe water conservation is a good thing, but they aren’t really big on taking action themselves, for a number of reasons. One is that the need to do so hasn’t been made abundantly clear to them; another is inertia; yet another is underlying emotional drivers that haven’t been appealed to in a meaningful way. Over and over again, consumers tell us they think conservation is important, but they mostly want someone else to do it for them.

Ergo, the idea of brands conserving water appeals to them greatly. There are obviously things we must do to get consumers to take more personal action – and we believe the opportunity for targeted education campaigns is huge and largely untapped – but there’s also an enormous, meaningful opportunity for brand leadership on this subject. If you’re conserving water or contributing to water-related causes, are you getting your message out there? Because our results show that consumers are listening. And they might just need your example to look up to.

Which brings us to the hows of getting your message out and telling your story. Our research tells us what different market segments think about water conservation (including Millennials, who might not be quite the receptive audience you think they are). Read our report to get the full survey background and the marketing insights we derived from our poll. And let us know if it sparks an idea you want to explore together.

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insight

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Penny Kemp

VP Account Management & Strategy

Penny leads our client engagement process, overseeing activities from both a strategic and a tactical level to ensure our work generates desired results. She works closely with Suzanne, President & CEO, to develop strategic marketing plans and with Matt, VP Creative, to foster creative campaign ideas. Before joining Shelton Group, Penny had developed expertise in brand management and marketing while working with award-winning agencies and shepherding programs for the likes of Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Russell Athletic and James Hardie Building Products.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Glen L. Vesser III

VP Finance and Administration

Glen manages Shelton Group’s finances and administration, ensuring our internal systems run smoothly so we can provide exceptional client service in a seamless and timely manner. Glen’s financial and administrative expertise has been shaped by decades of experience in a variety of industries, including public accounting, media distribution and health care.

Mike Beamer

VP Business Development

Mike joined our team to help provide strategic vision and foster our agency’s growth by overseeing new business leads and managing agency marketing and website content. He arrived in Knoxville steeped in energy efficiency and renewables – he previously led client service for an agency division in Boston dedicated to marketing communications strategy and branding for B2B and B2C clients in that space.