How to be sustainable in an unaffordable world

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Becoming more sustainable is high on the agenda for many brands and people in Europe. Sustainability has an increasing importance in our daily lives that can no longer be ignored, as we witness more climate protests, extraordinary heatwaves and an increasing number of floods. International supply chains are under pressure and are forcing consumers and companies to make tough decisions. Choosing between ‘heating’ or ‘eating’ has become a reality for many, and a big barrier to pursuing the desired ‘sustainable lifestyle’.

Unfortunately, there is no one single answer that solves the challenge of choosing between ‘affordability’ and ‘sustainability’. We can only guide you to better understand your consumers (or the humans behind the choices) and to take the right step(s) forward.

But where to start when the modern world is evolving extremely fast, and this large-scale disruption feels never-ending? We defined three solution areas – harvest, explore, and validate – to help you get closer to your consumers and understand what is happening in those key moments when people are making decisions around sustainability in an unaffordable world.

#1 Harvest

What choices exist when consumers look at your sector? What choices do(n’t) they have? How does your offer/comms/messaging compare with that of other brands?  

We offer a range of methodologies that observe consumers’ sustainability and affordability choices and interpret their reactions: competitor or landscape audits, semiotic analysis, and social listening.

#2 Explore

How do choices fit in the consumers’ worlds? What other factors are part of their decisions? What else is happening in consumers’ lives when a decision is being made?

We believe understanding these micro-decisions is key to getting closer to the humans at the center of your category.

We offer a range of ways to spend time with, speak with, and observe the (potential) consumers in your category, through insight communities, consumer connects, and self-ethnography. Learn to understand the elements that excite or frustrate your consumers, and the messaging that can make their decisions easier, or more pleasurable.

#3 Validate

What does this mean for your key segments? Is this change or trend truly meaningful?

Validation methodologies are more definitive, compared to these within Harvest and Explore. We like to think of these methodologies as putting ‘weight’ (or confirmation) into the ‘what’ through in-market and global trackers, concept and comms testing, MaxDiff and conjoint testing.

An example of a brand we have been collaborating with for years based on these three solution areas is G-Star RAW. For them as well, sustainability has become increasingly important and a topic we explored together in more depth. This led the team to develop the G-Star RAW Certified Tailors campaign in the Netherlands. The brand extends the lifecycle of your jeans and reduces your fashion footprint, while enhancing brand perceptions in a compelling, credible way. This initiative is underpinned by G-Star’s emphasis on quality, yet effectively ties in with sustainability (avoiding waste) and affordability concerns. To make it even better, G-Star RAW covers the costs!

Curious for more? Watch the full recording of our virtual event ‘How to be sustainable in an unaffordable world’ with Josh Barazetti-Scott and Lewis Barker, or book a workshop with our resident expert Joeri Van den Bergh!

Check out what our sustainability research toolbox and expert power can do for your brand.

Conscious Consumption

Conscious Consumption

Sustainability is a key concern amongst consumers, and this has only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. This bookzine highlights some of the key barriers amongst consumers as well as their expectations towards brands, through proprietary research, expert interviews with sustainability executives from several industries, and brand illustrations.

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