- Thu, July 26 2012
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Last week, I blogged about how buying green products can make people feel they are off the hook for further good. In fact, their purchase might even give them a license for bad behavior. Today comes more interesting news for environmentalists—sent to me via Mark Rovner - saying that guilt doesn’t inspire people to go green.
Image from National Geographic
According to Media Post, the “Greendex” from National Geographic Society and GlobeScan shows Americans believe in individual action but lag behind the rest of the world in their sustainable behavior. And they don’t feel that bad about it.
By contrast, consumers in emerging economies like India, China and Brazil “report feeling the most guilty about their environmental impact and yet have the least confidence that their individual actions can help the environment,” notes MediaPost. Basically, they have the opposite viewpoint - feeling bad and powerless.
The takeaway? Telling people to act green because it is the right thing for the larger society isn’t a great message for Americans. Guilting them into action is a nonstarter as well. Instead, try focusing them on the individual benefits of green behaviors - like making themselves are those they love more healthy. For marketers in places like India, China and Brazil, talking about simple ways people can make a difference for their country may be a better message.
As always, shape your messages to your audiences’ values rather than trying to change their world view.