Our inconvenient addiction

25.01.19

Chris Aukett

Director, London

Categories Blog Comment

Hi, I’m Chris, and I’m an addict.

Like many people, I’m addicted to convenience – whether that be smashed avo on toast year-round or great coffee in an instant.

The ultra-convenient world we live in creates a friction with our desire to make choices that are good for our home planet. But we are facing an unprecedented climate crisis, which requires swift action to limit the damage.

We know consumers want to see change, in principle, but it’s easy for the individual to feel helpless in the face of such impending doom. This presents a great opportunity for brands to help consumers achieve their desire for ‘conscious conservation’.

 

Be ‘conveniently sustainable’

Environmentally conscious behaviour has long been associated with sacrifice, and in some respects we need to face up to the fact that this is true. We have everything at our fingertips and it currently comes with very little monetary cost.

https://www.riverford.co.uk/

Riverford’s fantastic new campaign highlights our need to acknowledge all of the costs of our modern lifestyle… Their seasonal vegetable delivery service harks back to simpler times when we were more in touch with where our food came from.

 

If your brand can provide consumers with ‘conveniently sustainable’ solutions, limiting the behavioural shift required, there’s a good chance of making a real impact. Trailblazers like Ecover have been flying the flag for years, but the emergence of brands like Halo coffee pods and SLOactive, a sustainable swimwear brand, provide more opportunities for consumers to take a step in the right direction.

The real genius is if we can take inspiration from the past, and fuse that with modern technology and supply chain innovation. LOOP – a collaboration between brands, retailers and supply chain – is a really exciting initiative that taps into this desire for convenience with an old school twist: a ‘milkman’ for your laundry detergent, shower gel and ice cream! What else could be learned from looking to the past to inspire the future?

www.ecoegg.com www.nohbodrops.com

Big brands can change consumer behaviour

You just need to look at the impact Dollar Shave Club had on the shaving industry to know that consumer behaviour can, and does, change.

It’s time for big brands to be bold and encourage sustainable behaviour, not with incremental shifts to 50% recycled plastic by 2028, but by truly hacking the product experience to deliver sustainable and desirable experiences. Whether via a DTC model or beautiful reusable packaging that consumers proudly display, 2019 is likely to be a year of brands reassessing the status quo.

If big brands don’t, others will…

Be their Soapbox Superstar…

A key trend identified in our Authenticity think piece was that of the Soapbox Superstar; the power of brands showing humanity, a belief system and principles that they stand by to display their integrity. The old argument of “ethics & sustainability isn’t good for profit” needs to be reassessed for the 2019 landscape – we’ve already seen how taking a stand benefitted Nike in 2018 and it’s a trend we feel will only grow.

 

So how can your brand amplify each consumers’ voice? As The Dieline put it, the evolving role of a brand in 2019 will be to become “a declaration about the communities we inhabit and participate in, the world we want to be a part of” – something which Patagonia nailed with their recent approach to a tax rebate from the Trump administration.

Embrace Mother Nature!

The natural world has a whole host of amazing potential solutions from seaweed bags to beeswax wraps.

The coming years are likely to see a new wave of foraging. Our early ancestors tried to find ways to first survive and eventually ‘conquer’ the natural world; now we must go back out into the wild to discover ways to protect it!

Come together, right now!

And how about this for a crazy idea: more collaboration between brands and categories. A tough one to get past the shareholders perhaps, but the combined might of FMCG giants working together, rather than one-upping each other, is surely a force to be reckoned with! And the unveiling of Loop shows there’s hope!

 

It’s pretty clear that our ‘convenience at no cost’ lifestyle requires a fundamental rethink. While this will be complex and uncomfortable, there are already positive signs. And perhaps the first step on that journey, for brands and us consumers, isn’t complex at all! What if we simply ask “how might the way we did things in the past inspire a better way of doing things in the future?”

 

Right, I’m hungry, where did I put that avocado?!