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Today’s consumers are growing more sustainability-conscious by the day. Is your business ready to engage them?

Baoxuan Tan
Baoxuan Tan

December 21, 2021

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Each generation of consumers behave differently and have their own unique characteristics. The Gen Xs look to maximize value and build relationships with brands when they make a purchase decision, while Gen Ys focus on customer experience and authenticity. Today, the next generation of consumers are the Gen Zs, born between 1996 and 2012. Do you understand this group of consumers well enough to tailor your strategy and attract them? 

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

By 2025, Gen Zs are estimated to occupy as much as 25% of Asia’s population, with an astonishing spending power of nearly $140 billion globally. Businesses need to understand this group of consumers in order to tailor strategies to attract them. Based on a McKinsey APAC Gen Z survey conducted in 2019, 18% of Gen Zs in Asia prefer brands that are environmentally-responsible and socially-ethical. 

Not only is this trend noticeable in Asia, a vast majority of Gen Zs shoppers in the United States say that sustainability is more important than brand name when they make a purchase. The influence of Gen Zs on other generations is also prominent as consumers across all generations today are willing to spend more for sustainable products compared to two years ago.

Sustainability is also the rising topic being advocated by governments around the world. It’s important for businesses to keep up with this development and meet the changing needs and regulations to stay ahead. Beyond your customers, your talents also want to be part of something worthwhile;  and your investors are increasingly expecting you to behave ethically in how you treat people and the planet. You need to build  your business to make a difference. 

Here, we share three strategies  to grow your business by attracting the new generation of sustainability-minded consumers. 

Source: Corporate Finance Institute

#1. Include Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in your long-term growth strategy

The ESG framework helps to guide the sustainability and ethical practices of a company. 

Environmental practices include the energy your company uses, waste you discharge, and resources you use. Start by calculating how much carbon emission your business produces and then look into how you can take steps to reduce them. The guiding question you can ask here is: are your procurement and operational  processes sustainable and ethical?

Social practices refer to the relationships your company has, the reputation it fosters with people and institutions in the communities where you do business. Start with the diversity and inclusivity of your workforce and find better ways to engage and empower the communities whom your business operations impact.

For  corporate governance, review your internal system of practices, controls, and procedures to ensure you make effective decisions, comply with the law, and meet the needs of external stakeholders. The key is to make sure you are able to guide resources to the most important part of strategy, and ensure you have assembled the right team to follow through with your strategy.

Source: Perdoo

#2. Cascade messages about sustainability down to employees

Simply having an overarching strategic plan is not enough. You need to cascade the message down to the ground level to involve and engage the whole company. This will make sure your brand stays true to its value, is authentic and a true representation of what you preach. This also helps attract the Gen Zs as they are able to align their personal values with the company’s and build resonance with your brand. In addition, it will help to boost employee motivation and morale as employees will be proud to work for companies they believe in.

We suggest using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to help align company-wide efforts with the overarching goal and strategy, and help employees, particularly Gen Z staff understand their role and impact to the company’s ESG success.

#3. Share your impact and success stories on your various communication channels

Source: Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

We get our sources of information both from word of mouth as well as via online media. To gain visibility, it is important to share your impact and success stories online, whether on your website or social media, etc. Gen Zs rely heavily on social media for their sources of information as well. In fact, 97% of them actually use social media as their top shopping inspiration. Sharing your impact online helps to attract this new generation of consumers. A stronger online presence also helps to build brand engagement and loyalty. If you begin to lead your sector in the areas of ESG, you can even get subsidies and government support.

We believe that it is essential for you to start incorporating more sustainability practices into your strategy plans today to start attracting the Gen Zs - whether as customers or talents. There is a lot more room for companies to expand on their sustainability initiatives as many companies are still figuring it out, starting now will give you a headstart into the space. 

Binomial can help you identify and strategize the different ways and touch points you can incorporate sustainability and social responsibility - from procurement  to operations and packaging to your branding & marketing efforts to attract customers.

If you are unsure of how and where to get started, reach out to us for a free 30-minute consultation. Binomial is an innovation consulting firm. We combine practical growth strategies, design thinking, and agile execution to help your company grow sustainably.

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