Freitag, 21. September 2018

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Personal and Planetary Health Combined

At the beginning of 2009, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) released its annual trends report for the coming year. They found the overarching theme for 2009 is what they call "Recalibration". For the last few months I've chosen one or more of the 10 trends outlined in NMI's initial report, gone into more depth and explored how they effect change with customers and how we do business. This month, the final in the series: Personal and planetary health combined. By JP Collins

According to the original report from NMI: this trend labeled LOHAS 360-"The tipping point of the fusion between personal health and planetary sustainability has arrived... Increasingly, consumers' values are resonating with companies that are able to fuse both a personal and planetary perspective into their brand/company offerings."

Additionally: "Now more than ever, the distinction between the two paradigms is blurred as consumers include their own personal health as a microcosm and reflection of the health of the planet."

How We Live, Where We Live
As we've seen in other trends outlined in this series, people are making connections between what they do, how they do it and how it effects the world around them. This trend brings that all home and recognizes that LOHAS consumers specifically as well as other consumers who are interested in health or conservation are beginning to see the systemic results of lifestyles on the environment.

Despite what Michael Specter, author of "Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress," says about the irrationality of consumer's thinking behind organics as being good simply because it's "natural" seems to miss the fact that most people see through the term "natural" and make the connection between the health benefits of eating organic and the benefits to the planet. There is a recognition by organics consumers that organically grown food doesn't depend on petro-chemical fertilizers and pesticides and therefor does not contribute to poisonous run off that creates dead zones in coastal areas around the world. Understanding these ecological connections-that the way we grow our food has an effect on eco-systems at home and far away, is what helped push the organic food market to what it is today. In addition, this understanding has helped spur the interest behind locally grown food and the reprecussions of globalized food.

Livable, Complete Streets and Communities
Despite the lack of large-scale support for transit in the transportation bill, there is still interest in creating regional transit to connect smaller hubs of populations that have a more community-centric approach. People are realizing that they are missing out by spending all their time in their cars commuting and are looking for places to live that are closer to urban areas and transit. In the inner-ring suburbs, old malls are being converted into living and commerce centers that allow people to live close to shops, services and entertainment if not their jobs. With better access to transit and/or the ability to walk to places more easily people are finding they don't need their cars to do simple errands.

These shifts in development align with the trends of urbanism and livable streets. A more plural use of public space and streets is giving that space back to pedestrians and bicycles. As a result, people are finding that when they get out of their cars and interact in their community it helps local merchants, provides activity and exercise. And with people on the street, it decreases crime. Consequently, less energy is used for transportation while more time is spent with family and in the community.

Around the House
The systemic thinking and reasons consumers choose organics is also behind the change in their choice for cleaning products. Whether it's soap or toothpaste, or household cleaners, people are realizing that these products not only have an impact on their personal space but that the stuff eventually goes down the drain and out to the world. Again, it's not that the "natural" in cleaning products makes it better but that products that contain harmful substances are bad for their health and the health of the planet.

Along the same lines, consumers are looking at building materials, how they're made, what they're made from and the repercussions they have on the indoors as well as the outside world. Whether it's supply chain or the impact the product has on the world in it's production, consumers are choosing products that reflect their values and ideals.

This is also showing ramifications in the furnishings market. Mainstream companies like Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn are touting sustainable materials in the products in their catalogs. And although they have a ways to go, the fact that these attributes are being marketed shows that there is demand for these type of products.

On the market(ing) side, what you need to know
Consumers are making the connections between what they buy, how they live and how it effects the world around them and beyond. The companies large and small who recognize this will win with these customers. As I've said many times before, authenticity is important as is upfront information about the product. Even more importantly for companies is providing information and marketing that makes the connections for consumers about what they make and its impact on the world. OK, that's a tall order and may not be one that all businesses can embrace or even achieve. The ones who do will be seen as leaders and will win customers through their efforts.

A recent ad for Nature's Path shows that it can at least be approached along with some humor. The headline reads: "An organic cereal company can't solve climate change But it can cause cereal change." The Nature's Path web site has a good amount of information about their practices and impacts, giving consumers information about the company and their products. Their tag line? "Nature's Path Organic. Eat well. Do good."

JP Collins is the owner and principal of Pylon Studios, a San Francisco creative agency that provides graphic design and creative marketing services for clients in the LOHAS, green building, and renewable energy markets. JP has over 12 years of experience in graphic design and internet marketing, and has consulted for companies like Great Place To Work Institute Inc., HarperOne (Harper Collins San Francisco), CNET, Apple Inc., Barclays Global Investors and the San Francisco Small Business Development Center.

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