Better brand, better world: Alpha Foods CMO Kierstin De West on the opportunity in helping people become more conscious consumers | Maru Group

Brands can play a key role in helping consumers make sustainable choices

Mind the gap

Our research reveals that, in terms of acting sustainably, there is a large gap between what people aspire to and what they do. When we compare stated concern about sustainability issues to actual behavior, we see just how wide the gulf is. Consumers consistently state high concern, but generally fail to translate that into brand choices.

The say/do gap in sustainability

The difference between what consumers say is important and the choices they make

Missing an opportunity

She stated that the biggest misstep she has seen was brands fearing to tell their sustainability story and the positive actions they had taken for fear of not being perfect. As a result, they missed a market opportunity to connect with consumers on a topic that influences their behavior.

Doing good

Asked to name a company whose sustainability efforts she has been impressed by, De West cited Unilever. She said a couple of decades ago, Unilever wasn’t the brand you looked to as an icon of ‘better brand, better world’ and doing things right. Since then, Paul Pullman, the former chief executive officer, drove a lot of change. First implementing the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan in 2010, Unilever pioneered meaningful change throughout the organization-even moving away from short-term quarterly financial reporting because it undercut a focus on long-term sustainability.

What’s next

De West believes sustainability is increasingly about more than just the environment. Sustainability has four pillars which she says are: social, personal, spiritual, and environmental. She believes it is easy for firms to focus solely on the environment, and in doing so miss the mark. These four aspects of sustainability are inextricably intertwined and failing to recognize that limits the effectiveness of sustainability efforts. In fact, De West thinks the personal elements of sustainability are increasingly important and are the way of the future. For brands to be successful they will have to incorporate these elements in both their actions and marketing efforts.

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Maru helps its clients make informed decisions in real-time by combining proprietorial software, deep industry experience, and unique IP in system 1 apps.

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Maru = Software + Advisory Services

Maru helps its clients make informed decisions in real-time by combining proprietorial software, deep industry experience, and unique IP in system 1 apps.