Green Consumers—from Dull to Bright—Play Increasing Role
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Green Consumers—from Dull to Bright—Play Increasing Role

Consumers expect to double their spending on green products and services in the next year, totaling an estimated $500 billion annually or $43 billion per month, according to the 2007 ImagePower Green Brands Survey, conducted by WPP’s Landor Penn Schoen & Berland Associates and Cohn & Wolfe.

Paul Holmes

Consumers expect to double their spending on green products and services in the next year, totaling an estimated $500 billion annually or $43 billion per month, according to the 2007 ImagePower Green Brands Survey, conducted by WPP’s Landor Associates, Penn Schoen & Berland Associates and Cohn & Wolfe and released last week at the Sustainable Brands 07 conference in New Orleans.

 “This wave of research very clearly indicates an up tick in purchase intent for most consumers when it comes to green products and services, particularly those that are relatively simple to implement such as installing environmentally friendly lighting and upgrading to energy-saving appliances,” said Tom Agan, managing director of Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates.

The research indicated that 90 percent of Americans agree that there are important green issues and problems, and 82 percent believe it is important for companies to implement environmentally-friendly practices.

Conducted by PSB’s Internet Surveys Groups (ISG), the survey also found that consumer perceptions of green behavior continue to change according to various collective definitions and contribute directly to buying decisions. In early research, for example, consumers indicated a close association of the color green with environmentally-friendly products. As products and awareness have increased in sophistication, perceptions have steadily shifted to equating green to saving money and caring for self and society in 2006.

Today, the Green Brands Survey finds that consumers perceive green as a direct and positive reflection of their social status, in addition to recognizing its broader value to society and the world.

“Mainstream consumers can now join celebrities in supporting good causes,” said Russ Meyer, chief strategy officer at Landor. “As issues continue to arise around the world, so do positive perceptions of the people who support those issues. With every cause there is opportunity to gain support through a green-savvy consumer population.”

Extending the work released earlier this year that defined five “green attitudes,” ranging from “Bright Green” to “Dull Green,” the new findings highlight the political and emotional state of each group. Dull Green respondents, for example, who are characterized by making a minimum effort to support environmental change, prioritize crime reduction, religious organizations and healthcare as their main causes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the majority of Bright Green respondents, or those who are doing everything they can to make a long-term impact on their environment, care most about the environment, animal rights and education. One in five Dull Greens is satisfied with the current state of the environment, while, Bright Greens remain sad and skeptical about the future outlook and one in three even feel anger about the situation.

“The value of examining the everyday lives and activities, as well as the emotions, of our green groups is that we can then adapt and refine the way in which we communicate with them to maximize relevant messages,” says Annie Longsworth, EVP and managing director of Cohn & Wolfe San Francisco. “What resonates with Bright Green people is very different from what rings true for Dull Greens, which presents some really exciting marketing challenges and opportunities.”

 

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