Loyalty earned though trust and sustainability
In this future world, growing global influencer groups will be empowered to challenge the limitations imposed by the rigidity of established socio-economic structures. The role of institutions will change as they adopt policies and practices that improve trust with consumers.
As governments search for alternative paths to enable economic prosperity, the changing dynamics between institutions, businesses and consumers around the world will create opportunities to collaborate. As a result, new groups and communities united by common causes and goals will have a stronger influence on changes in consumption behaviours.
During the hack, one public sector organization highlighted that Canada has benefited from government policy choices that have created one of the most sustainable regions in the world. This reputation is largely influenced by an active community of environmental advocates and strong collaborations between regional governments and key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors.
Not surprisingly, three Canadian cities — Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver — are among the highest ranked cities for life satisfaction for millennials in 2018.7 Among these consumers, there is a growing trend for considering “green” factors when making purchasing decisions, and increased alignment of buying behaviours to brands’ social or environmental practices.8
Brands that become transparent and genuine about their environmental stewardship among young consumers will grow their market share and attain loyal customers, earned through trust.9
Today, customers expect to know more about the products they consume — the authenticity, quality, sustainability and the life-after-use, including recyclability and the environmental impacts of disposal. Companies try to engage consumers by making bold statements and promises, and yet the extent to which these promises are delivered can be hard, or impossible, to determine by their customers.
Expectations for transparency into a product’s life cycle continue to rise, and major brands compete to meet consumer demand for ethical, sustainable and socially responsible products. For example, Canada is home to a wealth of lifestyle brands that have a clear purpose at the heart of their business. They know their customers align closely with their brand’s purpose, and this focus is evident through marketing, product design, service experiences and relevant community engagement.
During the Vancouver hack, one adventure apparel retailer shared their experiences with pilot programs to recondition used products, standing behind the quality and effectiveness of their gear beyond use by a single customer and reducing the environmental impact of potential disposal.
This effort echoes a broad trend, including global giants like Adidas, Lego and others, in stating ambitious targets for reducing their environmental impacts. Brands are competing on environmental credentials, creating new products, services and marketing to showcase their efforts and to meet rising customer demand for better corporate environmental stewardship.
As environmental concerns continue to make headlines, brands will increasingly feel the pressure to back up their environmental ambitions with credible evidence to retain customer trust, advocacy and wallet share. Introducing radical transparency will require a radical shift throughout the product lifecycle from raw materials to use, re-use, recycling or sustainable disposal.
Tracing a product’s life cycle will require greater collaboration from design and manufacture to distribution and sale, a shift to include customer participation beyond the sale, all enabled through new forms of data collection, sharing and usage. This change requires innovative data-sharing agreements, more interoperable supply-chain technologies and social contracts.
- What could a smarter supply chain deliver?
- In a circular economy, what role does your customer play in the supply chain?