How the ‘Eco-Friendly’ Trend is Affecting Brand Appeal.
It is broadly understood that millennials rank above average when it comes to early trend adoption and brands often seek to harness this when taking new products, services and range extensions etc to market. One only has to look at the growing trend towards a healthy and ‘organic’ lifestyle as an example (think the millennial avocado obsession, rooftop yoga, a four-fold rise in veganism and, to name a few). There’s been a lot in the media recently about eco-friendly sustainability. While McDonald’s are trialling paper straws, clothing retailers such as ASOS and H&M have recently embarked on sustainable sourcing programmes. Tesla also continues to advance its research into, and efforts towards, sustainable energy. Demonstrating ethical and environmental awareness has shifted from cloying, to credible, to critical. Consumers are now not only expecting brands to manifest ethics within their business, but are also taking it upon themselves to take an active part in the conversation, and strengthen the movement to reflect their interests and concerns.
Conversely, there is also a trend regarding certain ‘mass adoption’ type products becoming increasingly unattainable for millennials – in particular the way they are being priced out of the housing market.
So, taking these two examples into consideration, we explore some of the ways brands and businesses have tailored their products and services for the property and home categories to appeal to an environmentally conscious generation who expect more from brands. We’ve looked at three recent project & product launches that seem to position themselves squarely at the meeting point of passion, purpose and necessity for this lucrative conquest audience. Ethical awareness has impacted the way we buy houses and kit out our homes, and it’s especially important to millennials.
The Green Mortgage
While individual lenders seek to lead the way in product innovation, Barclays has recently launched a ‘Green Mortgage’. It promises cheaper rates to home buyers purchasing energy efficient new-build homes. Tempted by improved access to the housing market through an affordable option which also enables them to make their contribution to a healthier planet, consumers are likely to feel warm towards an environmentally aware brand – one taking steps to demonstrate an ethical stance and focus on having a positive impact on the environment.
The product offers an effort-free opportunity for customers to feel they are making a difference. Increasingly aware of current environmental issues, consumers are likely to lean towards brands with which they have a shared purpose.
Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution in Interior Design
This month we headed to Grand Designs Live to discover ‘eco-conscience’ was a clear theme. Following recent publicity surrounding the impact of single-use plastic, the show took a stance by exhibiting green products, eco advice and talks on lowering a home’s carbon footprint.
Grand Designs Live is often a barometer of the trends relating to the home, and this year’s event hosted exhibits such as ‘Kevin’s Green Heroes Live’. Keven McCloud handpicked some of his favourite start-ups and SMEs making an eco-friendly stance within the home and design industry. Showcasing some interesting, forward-thinking products, this exhibition featured the likes of Bio-Bean Coffee Logs, premium quality eco briquettes, manufactured from recycled coffee grounds collected from coffee shops. Burning for longer, and hotter than wood, these coffee logs demonstrate how sustainability doesn’t always mean compromise for consumers.
Another exhibit was the ‘Pedal-Powered Motorhome’, a home created entirely from recycled materials. Nicknamed ‘The Cockroach’, this souped-up bicycle was created by enthusiastic inventors Harry Dwyer and Charlie Waller. Despite its slightly makeshift and ‘prototype’ form, The Cockroach might just be the beginning of a movement that sees more brands and companies move away from ‘perfection, and brand new’, and support sustainability in their offering.
With an eco-friendly focus clearly at the heart of this year’s show, it will be fascinating to see how environmental considerations grow in the influence over our interior design plans – or even property purchases.
Goldfinger Factory is blazing a trail in sustainable furniture. This home furniture brand has embarked on a business mission to ‘turn waste into gold’. Building all its furniture and products from recycled materials, this environmentally conscious business demonstrates how sustainability drives sales when it’s put at the heart of a brand. Once again, having that shared purpose draws consumers close to the brand, especially among this growing group of young, environmentally conscious people looking to fulfil their ethical duty through their everyday behaviours, choices and purchases.
However, Goldfinger Factory is just one example of brands and organisations recycling and upcycling products in a bid to create sustainable furniture. At our trip to Grand Designs Live, we came across ecoBirdy, a company who build children’s furniture from recycled plastic toys. See how ecoBirdy drive sustainability below.
By 2020, how many houses will be furnished with beautiful, affordable, sustainably created furniture that started its life as something else?
Ethical stances seem to be shifting from awareness to activism, particularly amongst younger consumers increasingly taking responsibility for protecting and sustaining the world. Brands, both established players and new entrants, are now developing products and propositions that do more than simply nod to a CSR policy. They seem genuinely geared to helping this audience meet those responsibilities in return for the hard earned cash they were going to spend anyway. An astute, welcome and commendable move.