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Conscious Consumerism is all the Buzz

In this space, we have spent the last nine months exploring who Conscious Consumers are and why marketers should being paying attention. What started as an exercise to uncover and discuss behavioral insights has revealed that Conscious Consumerism is not a simply a trend to watch and will be here before we know it, but rather is here and if you aren’t thinking about it as a marketer, you better be because your competitors likely are.

Because Conscious Consumerism has become almost mainstream, Conscious Consumers have moved beyond awareness and consideration and are now taking action. This is a great opportunity for savvy marketers who can help consumers make this leap into action by lowering the barriers to trial and participation. When executed authentically, consumers have shown a willingness to cede authority on the topic to the brands messaging to them.

This is not just our opinion, but is shown in the quantitative data we are reviewing from a primary research study that just came out of the field. Over the next few months many of our blog posts will be featuring data points and themes from this study as we continue to build a profile of Conscious Consumers.

One of the overarching themes we are seeing in this research that is reflected in the actions of brands (both that we work with as well as those we observe) is that successful marketing to Conscious Consumers can be achieved by using an altruistic tone that addresses a problem or concern but then breaks down any barriers to entry making it easy for the consumer to participate.

TOMS does this with their One for One  campaign where they give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every consumer purchase. For the consumer, participation requires no additional action after the purchase but they have set-up a robust digital infrastructure on their website, FacebookTwitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ as well as an iOS app, all of which do a nice job of balancing the brand with their cause marketing efforts.

Organizations like the United Way, American Red Cross, Keep a Child Alive, the Salvation Army and the Amberwatch Foundation have also found a way to make it simple to donate to their campaigns via text message. Their partner, mGive facilitates a relationship with all of the major cell phone carriers to offer this service to easily allow consumers to donate $10 in a matter of seconds rather than require picking up the phone or even logging onto a website. This becomes a win for charitable organizations and the consumer because less administration costs are required and more of the donation is passed through to the people in need.

We have seen this strategy play out successfully for our client, ClearWay Minnesota, by introducing the QuitCash Challenge, a campaign that encourages smokers to pledge to quit smoking by offering a $5,000 cash prize incentive. Like with the examples above, there are few barriers for participation, you don’t have to call anyone, you just need to sign up on the website to enter for a chance to win.

Last winter we challenged ourselves to come up with a way we could leverage this idea for our holiday card and present to our clients. What we came up with is called Buzz Karma and through a partnership with Heifer International, allowed us to donate 1,000,000 honeybees to families in need from Uganda to Haiti. These beehives are now helping to provide a sustainable source of income through the sale of honey, beeswax and pollen in rural communities throughout the world. All that we asked of our clients, Facebook fans and Twitter followers was to like, share or retweet our posts.

For us, Buzz Karma started as a fun idea for a holiday card and a chance to make a memorable video. It has evolved into a hashtag for many of our tweets as well as a specific interest in the urban beekeeping trend that is getting a lot of traction and attention here in Minneapolis. We have also just finished a second video to go along with our holiday card.

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As we learn more about the goals and objectives of the local groups, the sustainability and cross pollination potential, as well as the health benefits of honey and pollen, we are excited about what Buzz Karma might become because this is what we do: combine thorough research, great creative and develop easy platforms to help brands stand out to Conscious Consumers.

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