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No easy target: Another green messaging reality check

Posting in Energy

Yes, people are buying green, but for different reasons than you might expect. Or, actually, maybe for the reasons you expect, but now you have them v...

Yes, people are buying green, but for different reasons than you might expect. Or, actually, maybe for the reasons you expect, but now you have them validated for you.

That's the conclusion of a survey conducted by advertising firm Shelton Group, which focuses on what motivates consumers to make choices that could be deemed sustainable.

The survey got a bit of airplay over the last week on the GreenBiz.com site, and it is well-summarized in this blog published by the company's founder in an entry called "Shattering the Stereotype of the Green Consumer." It will only take you a moment to read that blog, but here are some top-level findings:

  • People who identify themselves as green consumers say their No. 1 worry is the economy, not the planet.
  • The main motivation for reducing energy consumption is to "reduce my bills/control costs."
  • Almost half of green consumers picked an incorrect answer testing their knowledge about the impact of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • There is no one dominant demographic that can be segmented by age, income or ethnicity.
  • Only 20 percent of green consumers say their attitude has been affected by their children.

In my mind, there are three things you can take away from this research:

  1. Don't make the mistake of thinking that people will pay more for your "green" product. It just doesn't wash.
  2. Don't default to messaging that is married too closely to one consumer type, such as young or affluent or female.
  3. Don't spend too much time trying to brainwash kids into parroting something from your marketing. Adults can still think for themselves, thank you very much.

Here's a link to more information about the Shelton Group's ongoing Green Living survey.

Shelton Group works with Earthsense Eco-Insights to collect its research data on sustainability and green consumer behavior.

You may also find this link to a GreenBiz.com story about the "green generation" to be useful. The story, published late last week, covers some data collected in the United Kingdom.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure