Shifting Culture, Selling Product

Getting someone to buy a new alternative product that is healthier for them or better for the planet seems like a no-brainer. It should be easy, right? People should flock, shouldn’t they? Then why don’t they always?

Why can’t Toyota get everyone to drive a Prius? Why don’t more people take mass transit? Why don’t I drink more water?

Without being overly hyperbolic, it’s because we’re addicted to comfort and routine.

In our SmartLiving study we found that when a consumer decides to replace a conventional trusted product with a new alternative product, it is a much bigger deal than when a consumer shifts between brands. This shift is more seismic in nature and opens the door to many barriers that can creep in and potentially derail the initial intention to change.

People seek comfort in their lives. People are always going to do what is easy, obvious, and convenient. And people are slow to change. Those are some pretty big barriers. But if brands are thinking culture shift instead of just selling a product, they’ll be one up.

In this new landscape where change is around seemingly every single corner, brands find themselves as culture shifters, not just product peddlers. If your product changes the way a mainstream consumer thinks, feels, and understands the world around them, you are indeed changing their culture. Now it’s time to rawk it!

Here are just a few cultural shifts that consumers experience that aren’t present when simply shifting between brands.

  • Spending more money for a similar product
  • Thinking about the world when making purchases
  • Thinking about their health when making purchases
  • Learning a new “language”—organic, natural, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprint, etc
  • Shopping at new stores
  • Thinking about broader issues even when making small purchases

What does it look like when a brands shifts their focus to culture shift? Barriers are lowered, connections with customers are created, and product is sold. Brands can help ease this cultural shift and they can also help bring it on. Here are just a couple thinking changes brands can explore to support their customers in shifting culture.

  • Support your consumers, don’t use exclusive language that makes them feel like outsiders (i.e., carbon, compost, rGBH, etc)
  • Appeal to consumer’s sense of “me” and “family first”, not the environment
  • Make it easy. Don’t try to show them how smart you are. Show them how much you care about them.
  • And be sure that your product is so good that they’ll gladly come back for more!