Growth driven through consumer education

We have already identified a real commercial benefit for businesses to start communicating their sustainability initiatives to prospective customers. There is a definite growth opportunity to be had when sustainability is driven throughout the business, and is communicated in the right way with the right message to consumers. 

The moral and commercial cases for sustainability are well understood, and the need for credibility in comms surrounding it likewise, however, a question of scale remains: exactly how important is it today, and how can we expect that to change in the coming years? We can see clearly the intent amongst customers is there, but will their good intentions and your sustainability credentials be enough on their own to create a point of difference and sway your customers to buy your product over a competitor’s? Does it justify a price premium? 

Arguably not yet. But it will be. 

Our research Sustainability & the Homebuyer clearly showed that whilst it was a consideration in the purchase journey and an influencing factor for consumers, only 4% of respondents agreed it was the most important factor. However, this is now, and what is also evident in the research is a pronounced lack of understanding around the benefits, and the lack of knowledge within the market more generally. Learning from other sectors such as the car industry, we can see how much consumer perceptions can change over a relatively short period: how demand can increase as soon as a concept is normalised and the long-term benefits are common knowledge amongst potential purchasers.  

Make them understand, they will buy  

For some reason the housebuilding industry does not share much of the media spotlight when it comes to sustainability with 59% of survey respondents not aware of any government legislation in place. This increases even further for those with smaller budgets, i.e. first time buyers. And to add further to this, those that were aware couldn’t recall where, and 49% agreed there had been a lack of information and comms around any initiatives.  

But the most important learning was that those that were aware, and who truly understood the benefits of buying a sustainable home, were more motivated to buy and were willing to pay more. 

Therefore the challenge is clear – we need to educate consumers on the value of sustainability so they become motivated to buy and ultimately take action.  

How? Our role at Space & Time is to pinpoint the right platforms to engage with your audience at the right time. We work alongside our clients to create bespoke Growth roadmaps resulting in a 3-5 year plan to effectively reach your consumers, deliver against your KPIs and ultimately drive growth. Exercises such as SWOT analysis help to truly understand the wider market, including competitor media activity, external noise such as the current cost of living crisis and potential barriers to purchase such as dwindling consumer confidence. From this we can collectively identify the most relevant solutions to deliver the message in the most effective way throughout the entire customer journey. We flex our capabilities to match your needs. 

For example, in order to educate consumers, we need to drive awareness and match the channels best suited to this task with the budgetary, timing and other constraints of the client. Wide-reaching channels such as broadcast TV or OOH can really help deliver this whilst elevating the message to a mass audience. On the other hand, more content-led channels such as native advertising, video content or Influencer engagement, can be used to build a strong narrative, fully informing the consumers of the story whilst building credibility and trust.  

An SEO audit can help identify ways to ensure your website is bulletproof when it comes to sustainability content and is delivering the most effective and consistent customer journey. Likewise, our PPC team can ensure that you are bidding on the most relevant search terms to drive clicks and increase traffic to the content.  

We have also previously discussed the importance of ‘walking the walk’, and how sustainability needs to be woven through everything the company does. That includes the partners that you work with.  

At Space & Time, we are constantly striving to be more sustainable in everything that we do, not least when looking at the solutions we recommend for our clients. Already an end in itself, sustainability within the media schedule becomes even more essential when client messaging is vocal on sustainability issues and consistency between medium and message becomes a matter of credibility. We are already moving more towards a heavily digital world but in instances where printed channels are still the right way to engage our audience, we will always seek suppliers that work in a sustainable way, for example printing on recycled paper and those that seek to offset any carbon emissions or are working towards their own net zero offering. This is now a fundamental consideration when putting together media plans and as we work towards our own 2030 target, something we will be challenging suppliers on further.   

Overall, education is key. But how you do it will be what sets you apart and really helps create future growth. So get in touch with us and we can chat about how we help you implement sustainability to the core of your messaging and brand.