Sustainable Innovation

Get to know the Aspirationals

Regeneration consumer segments

One third of consumers combine a materialistic orientation with an aspiration to purchase sustainable goods. Style and social status are key motivators for this segment called ‘Aspirationals’.

No, we are not talking about the ‘Advocates’ formerly known as’Treehuggers’ which represent 14% of consumers. Advocates are driven by responsibility and guilt, actively search for products with social or environmental benefits and are prepared to pay more for sustainable alternatives.

To Aspirationals, shopping is not associated with guilt – not at all. ‘Shopping contributes to happiness’. Aspirationals love to try new things, want to look good and are very much concerned about their social status.

These are among the results of the ‘Regeneration Roadmap’ study by BBMP, GlobeScan and SustainAbility, based on an online survey among over 6000 consumers in Bresil, India, China, Germany, United Kingdom and Unites Sates.

In fact, Aspirationals represent the ‘persuadable’ middle segment. Consumer goods companies should be carefully studying the needs and drivers of this group. Aspirationalists are always on the outlook for sustainable alternatives, and would buy products if this would connect them with their community of peers with shared values.

How to recognize the Aspirationals? They can be found amongst all age groups, with a significant higher share of households with kids. In China even one in two consumers can be counted among this group. One handicap: Consumers will not automatically come across products and brands that are conceived with a reduced environmental or positive social impact. Above average, this group trusts advice of friends and peers.

The challenge for companies will be to convince this well-connected group about the sustainability benefits of products despite their lack of trust in green claims or labels. Companies should consider social branding initiatives that make consumers connect with communities of peers, trust the social or environmental benefits and become – what’s in a name – advocates of sustainable brands.

The opportunity lies in the aspirations people have: sustainability connected with social status, style and a feeling of community. Companies not only should concentrate on developing green and socially responsible products, but create cóol products with great performance and sustainable benefits that people can be proud off.

In other words: Forget about the Treehuggers. Convince the Aspirationals.


Your customers want your products to be green

I am proud to announce my new book:

‘Your customers want your products to be green’

During the last few years I have had the chance to interact with senior managers of European sustainability frontrunners.

‘Your customers want your products to be green’ contains Best Practices of Sustainability Frontrunners such as Ericsson, Shell, Rabobank, DSM, Philips, Danone and Veolia Environnement completed with freshly printed business recommendations.

Create societal impact and develop new business opportunities. More information on The Green Take website here. Enjoy and be inspired!

I wish you a happy and healthy 2012!