Part 2: Spirits in a Material World

With so many issues of “green” interest spreading across the globe, there’s a cause for everyone. And to some degree, each cause directly and/or indirectly influences consumer behavior. Most members of the eco-conscious community still buy goods and services, but what sets them apart from the masses is the level of deliberateness they apply to consumption: origins, ingredients, sustainability, etc. We identify these choiceful folks as Conscious Consumers, and we’ve segmented the group into three general areas of concern.

The Health Conscious Consumer shops carefully, looking at labels and deciphering the contents, trying to find foods and products that are safe for her family. She’s wary of cleaning items with complex additives, even if it’s just one simple aroma chemical: 3-Ethoxy-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde-2,2-dimethyl-1,3-propylene glycol acetal. Often her concern comes from a health requirement, such as a gluten or dairy allergy in the family. This consumer is very careful about what she buys and where it comes from. Most meals are prepared at home, with restaurant dining limited to a few choice locations.

A sleuth for the truth, the dietary detective: The Food Source Conscious Consumer invests a lot of time and effort in finding the healthiest options. She even shares her discoveries with others and experiments with ideas she gains in exchange. She establishes personal relationships with growers and distributors, which builds trust and provides an “in” for her investigations. Within this group, consumers can range from traditional families living an uber-healthy lifestyle to people living minimally in a farm co-op, freeing themselves of the grid and the mainstream as much as possible.

 
 

Earth Conscious Consumers put the planet first by reducing their footprint. For some, transitioning into energy-efficient technologies lowers consumption and saves money, which they see as a win-win. For others, eco-mindedness is an investment in tomorrow, in preserving the world for family and future generations. These consumers make what they feel is a requisite effort by combining myriad small actions, such as recycling, donating to charity, and cutting back on purchases. And for a small subset of this segment, activism is the way. These are the people driven to put passion into practice, to actively raise funds and awareness, and to go out on the front lines to fight for the earth, from hoisting banners at a corporate headquarters to hoisting themselves up into the canopy of an ancient tree in a South American rainforest to prevent its felling.

Defining Conscious Consumers and the greater movement is key to finding an empathetic voice that will speak to them for products that align with their values. They seek out like-mindedness not only in people, but also in brands. We’re just beginning to understand who they are and what they believe in, and the space they’re in is dynamic, making our endeavor a constantly renewing challenge. And though they generally aspire to minimalism, the people in this group are still, well, people—who need at least the basics to survive. And that’s something we all understand.