MY HOT TAKE: We urgently need consumers to adopt behaviours that will help us live within the limits of our planet. Marketing shows us how.
Ideally decisions would be the result of careful consideration. In reality we don’t make well considered decisions, we often rely on cues to make choices easier. Marketing shows us how to exploit these cues.
People make decisions based on consequences. Especially negative ones.
Marketers make it feel like a behaviour has consequences – we create a clear value proposition. Environmental campaigns need to get better at this.
Eco communications do fill conversations with negative consequences like “planetary disaster” or “wildfire armageddon”, these however, are unrelatable, we need consequences personalised to the audiences day to day life. The positive impact of living ecologically is also too often left invisible, we need to make sure we always communicate a noticeable positive consequence.
If a decision is too complex people may avoid it altogether.
Marketers control choice to make choosing easier.
Cut: We reduce choices.
Categorise: We put choices into categories.
The range of choices presented within the eco-living debate are vast and complex. They could definitely be cut and categorised to make choosing between them easier.
People follow others.
Eco campaigns need mass action so need mass appeal. The advice from a marketer would be to start with those in the mass market who are already listening to you, they will start your movement and normalise your idea for the rest. Too often eco campaigns only engage with activist groups and not the mass market.
People often ignore what they have seen before. People notice what they haven’t seen before.
The conversations on ecological living are now old, and in danger of being ignored. We must keep them fresh.
How do marketers keep something fresh? We change it.
- Change the visual
- Change the words
- Change the channel
- Change the people
- Change the story
- Change the facts
“Providing a decent life and wellbeing for nearly 10 billion people by 2050, without further compromising the ecological limits of our planet, is one of the most serious challenges and responsibilities humanity has ever faced” (United Nations, 2019).
The world of marketing might just help us win.
- Connect with Tom Barton on LinkedIn.