Consumer Trend Watch EcofocusGetting beneath consumer segmentation and identifying attitudes and values that impact green consumer behavior

by Sofia Ribeiro, Founder of Kiwano Marketing.

Last week at the  Sustainable Brands ’10 Conference, I attended to a fantastic presentation by Linda Gilbert from EcoFocus Worldwide on market research and green consumers. Here are some fantastic facts on the green consumer movement:

– 2 in 4 Americans agree that a cleaner planet starts at home.
– 2 in 3 are ready to make changes.
– 84% of respondents say they base their choices in environmental issues.
– 87% of Americans say that global warming is not the point – it’s all about trash and waste reduction.

“But everyone is really confused,” says Linda Gilbert at EcoFocus.“Brands are not providing the information consumers need in order to do sustainable choices.” While LOHAS consumers still represent a small percentage of the market, this group illustrates what the future holds for traditional, mainstream consumers. Not only that, but Drifters – those that care for environmental values but only purchase green products – are the fastest growing segment of green consumers.

“One of the highlights of our research was that mainstream consumers don’t want to be labeled as green, even if they buy eco products,” says Gilbert. “They rather be associated with sustainability instead – a term that raises less issues and miscommunications.”

So how do businesses – no matter what size – reach out to mainstream consumers?

1. Speak to “My world, My life:” relate to an issue that consumers can easily relate to, such as their health or their children’s safety.
2. Beware of missionary marketing: consumers are not looking to save the planet and missionary marketing messages will fall short in driving brand awareness and sales.
3. Keep it positively interesting: green products should be cool, or at least make people feel good when buying, consuming or using them. Images of polar bears sinking won’t get traction in the new green economy.
4. Help sort it out: consumers want to adopt environmentally sustainable behaviors, but most don’t know how. Clarify in your marketing materials exactly how your product helps the environment and the community.
5. Keep it clean: customers want to deal with clean products and will buy those with no toxic chemicals.
6. Make a visible difference: people want to be perceived as green too. The more environmentally responsible you are, and the more impact you have in the green industry, the more customers will buy your product (or service).
7. Bring it closer to home: at the end of the day, consumers are more concerned with issues that directly impact their lives, such as their child’s health or the quality of the air in their office. Relate to something they personally relate to, and your brand awareness will go up

“It’s all about living well AND being eco-friendly,”says Gilbert. “Businesses should make life easy for consumers. The easiest it is for consumers to buy sustainable products, the more successful the company will be.”

Get Ready for EcoMom

Women and especially moms are very wary of the impact of the products and services in their lives, and how these impact the health of their family. Moms are also a main buyer, representing an overpowering influence over brands.

The report shows that EcoMoms are more involved than others in example setting behavior, such as water conservation (turning off the water when brushing teeth or other activity) and energy savings (turning off lights when leaving a room).  Already, 35% of EcoMoms are sending their children to school with waste-free lunches and snacks.  Upon embarking on more eco-friendly behaviors, moms are finding unexpected health and quality of life benefits:

  • 2 in 5 are becoming more physically active as a result of a greener lifestyle, and
  • 3 in 5 expect that a cleaner environment will mean less cancer and disease in the future.

Most also agree that they are spending more time together as a family, with nearly 70% of parents agreeing that being eco-friendly provides them with teachable moments with their kids.

“Brands with or who want to build equity with moms around nurturing and responsibility themes have a powerful platform here,” recommends Linda Gilbert, CEO of EcoFocus.  “It’s a new archetype that will define next generation products and communications,” says Gilbert.

For information about the EcoFocus report Are You Ready for Eco-Mom? and to learn what this new archetype means to your business, call or email Sean Lucey at 727-743-2352 or

© 2010, Sofia_Ribeiro. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Sofia_Ribeiro (13 Articles)

Sofia Ribeiro is the founder and co-owner of Kiwano Marketing, a green marketing services provider dedicated to support small, sustainable businesses. An experienced marketing professional and a green enthusiast, Sofia has an extensive marketing background across both small businesses and large enterprises throughout Europe and North America. Her expertise lays in guerrilla marketing and Internet marketing techniques, paired with a solid experience in copywriting and industry research. Sofia also manages a green marketing blog at

  • Derek

    And what about the Eco Dads?

  • Sofia Ribeiro


    Eco Dads are important too. This article is based on a Shelton research project that starts with the premise that women are the decision maker over 80% of the time – for both high-level purchases as well as for routine expenses.

    I’m currently working on an article that looks at this from the men’s perspective. Is there anything in particular you’d like me to focus on?


  • Tracy Gaudet

    I am definitely an EcoMom and I think one thing that I have really noticed since starting to “go green” is how interested all my non-eco conscious friends are and how many of them have made changes in behavior and shifted their purchasing habits as a result. It’s like the book “Big Green Purse” , use your spending power to create a cleaner, greener world. Now that Mom’s (and Dad’s) are taking notice of environmental factors companies are really going to have to pay attention!