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  • Writer's pictureNeil

Saving the planet saves us

Back in February, we hosted a very insightful consumer group session. Our client plans to launch stylish vegan leather accessories in 2020. Understanding consumers attitudes towards recycling and looking after the planet is central in their planning. Following the design of their brand logo and asset style guide, our next task was to develop a communications plan across the web and social media. Our primary aim for this session was to tease out some of the attitudes and emotions within the group 

Like most marketing activities, planning is critical for success, and our insights team did their typical pre-event, military-style planning—all food and drink requests on point. Seating plans arranged to make sure the sessions were not dominated by certain individuals or groups. Support materials designed to help our lovely attendees focus on providing the info we need. 

The feedback we gained helped our client make some critical decisions on their communications plan. It was clear the group had opinions on the eco space even if they were not eco warriors themselves.

It’s very clear that people feel very passionately about what they and the brands they support can do for the planet. This is highlighted very well in this excellent article from Solitaire Townsend.

Brands that had earned the groups respect included Patagonia, Toms and Everlane

These brands had done a great job of communicating with some of the group to gain their initial interest. The consistency and quality of their products had retained people over time and what was very evident was that those same people were now brand advocates. 

We took so much away from this focus group. More than we could do justice in this blog, but we would like to share our 5 key learnings.

Top 5 learnings 

  1. Irrespective of people's earnings, 78% of our group will pay a small premium for planet-friendly materials IF the brand offers excellent value. The group felt that given a choice between a well-designed, planet-friendly product and a non-social conscious product, they'd expect a small premium to be paid. The key phrase that came out of the session was that everyone "wanted to do their bit for the planet."90% of the group stated they felt more aware of the issues facing the planet than they did 12 months previously. Fires in Australia, David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and friends and family have all contributed to people becoming more aware of the state of the planet. 

  2. The public see through the BS of brands "playing at the eco stuff". What was very apparent was that brands are better off not doing eco unless they are fully committed to it. Certain high-profile brands were called out for their failed efforts at trying to appear to care about the planet. 

  3. The most discussed element of trying to do our bit for the planet was plastic waste. Everyone agreed that using single-use plastic was inexcusable. Many people were now using reusable water bottles in their day to day lives.  

  4. 83% of the group felt that they had changed the way they researched brands before purchasing. Checking on how and where brands produced their goods is becoming something increasingly important. Looking after the planet and the workers involved in making the products is becoming a big part of the purchasing criteria.  

Last week we did a quick ring round the group to check in on whether any attitudes had changed since COVID 19. Apart from practical matters around money being tighter and people being super careful on spending for non-essential items COVID has shifted attitudes a little within the group. The main shifts were around the food chain. It’s very evident that COVID has made members of this group consider the wider implications of food and many are exploring a plant-based diet.

Prior to the event we were very surprised to see how many people had signed up to Veganuary at the start of the year but if our little group is anything to go by plant based food and plant based products will increasingly be seen as a good way for people to “do their bit” to help save this amazing planet we call home.


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