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Why market research firms should care about sustainability

The number of articles published by health and wellness market research firm regarding sustainability grew during the Glasgow conference of COP26 on The Climate Change summit. The trend I noticed isn’t just a result of carefully planned media events. Ipsos and Kantar for example have dedicated a huge section of their websites to sustainability. What is it about the world of market research that always seems so focused on creating something more sustainable?

The reason that sustainable research groups ought to be concerned about sustainability is that sustainability will be one of the most crucial issues for marketers in the near future. Any brand that is reputable will need to be able to clearly define its contribution to a more sustainable world. Because people are insisting on it. Perhaps, even more importantly, the brands themselves are in favor of it. However, wherever the motivation to be more sustainable originates an effective approach to sustainability isn’t a simple task.

More difficult

The process of delivering a sustainable message is a lot more challenging than the “normal” marketing campaign. Because, in actuality, sustainable marketing implies that you need to lure consumers to behave in ways that they aren’t actually interested in. Consider giving up vacations far away and they’ll benefit by being sustainable over time however, even their personal gain isn’t that great.

While at the same time sustainable consumption is no longer a luxury reserved for the top performers. The majority of consumers want to make sustainable choices. However, a significant portion of them is unsuccessful in achieving this. Because of a lack of understanding and supply or simply because they are constantly being enticed to make the wrong decision.

How challenging sustainable marketing can be seen in the book ‘Het Grote gevecht’ (The big battle) by Jeroen Smit on the battle for Unilever CEO Paul Polman to make the multinational more eco-friendly. Under his leadership, Unilever’s impact on the earth was reduced in numerous ways. However, it’s not evident how Unilever can translate every sustainability initiative into a preference for consumers. Even the company’s marketing team, who I admire, did not succeed in doing so. As long as the consumers don’t purchase more of your sustainable products, sustainable means costing (quite a lot of) money.

If you are able to convince consumers to purchase your sustainable products over other brands Sustainability is an opportunity to make cash (and help improve the world while doing it). In this case, you can think of the dutch Chocolate label Tony’s Chocolate. The brand has transformed an idealistic target (‘slave-free chocolate) into its own distinctive trademark. In the process, it has grown into one of the biggest chocolatiers across the Netherlands.

Being able to convince customers to make sustainable choices is vital for you to become an environmentally friendly brand. You must understand the structure of their choices and understand their motives and obstacles. Only then will you be able to influence their decisions. Clear consumer insights pave the way for a future where we make use of precious resources in an environmentally sustainable manner. It’s no wonder then that market research companies have found sustainability.

More excitement!

There’s a second reason. Employing clients who prioritize their social goals more than their financial goals is more exciting, enjoyable, and rewarding for researchers. If you’re looking to recruit talented researchers you must be a research firm. you must make an informed decision about the clients you’d prefer to be working for and which ones you’d prefer not to. In the end, if you’re a fresh graduate that has the opportunity to select which company to work for, would you prefer to be employed by a tobacco company or be employed by a company that has a social mission? Companies that give their employees the opportunity to be a part of a better world will draw top talent.

The world is a better place and the business

Therefore, I’m delighted to know it’s a sign that the market research company embraces the concept of sustainability. It’s great for the field. Also, for the entire world, we should be successful in helping marketers meet their sustainable objectives.

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