|Green And Healthy Brand Attributes|
It’s probably no coincidence that we’re increasingly seeing business opportunities that have had direct links to the environmental and health consciousness sweeping our country. Issues of climate change, pollution, social impacts and corporate stewardship have moved from “discussion topics” to “direct drivers of brand perception and business results.”
In our view, this shift matters to business because of customer behaviour. If Joe and Jane Consumer are willing to consider green brand attributes when making purchases then leading companies and associations will evolve their businesses accordingly. Adapting to these new demands will be critical for all of us.
In the food business for example, we’ve seen a growing segment demand for food that is labeled as “organic.” This category of food, generic and fuzzy as it may be, earns a premium and enjoys specialized retail support. It will be interesting to see how long the premiums on these products will exist as aging consumers become increasingly sophisticated about what really drives health (Consumers always become more sophisticated in their purchase decisions) and supply of the generic organic products expands.
Eggs are an interesting example where the evolving consumer interest in health has driven brand strategy. Eggs are pretty much a brand that competes with other protein sources. Recognizing that, the national egg marketing agency has attached its product branding to energy – which of course is related to protein. The communication approach is clever. Time will tell if it works.
Egg producers have also product alternatives such as free run, vegetarian and omega three fatty acid enhanced products. (Did you know that vegetarian eggs come from chickens fed only plant origin ingredients?) It seems fascinating that we have a traditional commodity business adapting so proactively to changing consumer interests.
Unfortunately, from where we sit, most businesses seem to be viewing increased concerns with being green and healthy as a battle - against which a defense is needed. Investment seems to be in developing defensive strategy.
Like egg farmers, we think of this as opportunity for differentiation. What can start out as damage control and risk management can evolve into proactive corporate stewardship and even product development. For a fascinating example of this evolution, check out what Waste Management Inc. is up to (wm.com). You’ll be amazed at what you can do with garbage!