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How green solutions foster a brand’s customer experience

Nowadays, a new period of sustainability is emerging, expanding in various areas of the world. There is a general consensus on the established relevance of environmental issues among consumers, who have shifted their attention towards sustainable, green alternatives. The result is that firms have been addressing this “green pressure” to satisfy consumers’ increasing need for eco-friendly solutions.

However, it is still unclear what is the impact of promoting/selling green products and services on customer engagement and intention to buy. Our aim is therefore to find an answer to this problem.

In KPI6 we are always eager to meet new talents, to collaborate with important institutions, and to launch innovative challenges.

We have recently started a collaboration with the LUISS Guido Carli University, participating in some classes of the Bachelor’s Degree course in “Management & Computer Science” held by prof. Francisco Villaroel Ordenes.

The challenge wanted to test our young analysts on a real challenge that they will face up in one of their first job experiences.

The goal was to solve a problem for its management, using the data offered by KPI6 on the market, on the players, and above all on consumers. The challenges involved many industries, from automotive to technology, passing through retail and entertainment.

Team 7

Students:

  • Annalisa Feliziani
  • Giovanna Di Toro
  • Leonardo Proietti Cerquoni

The goal of this challenge was to understand how the promotion or selling of green products and services could impact brands’ customer experience and intention to buy.

The growing use of green topics in a brand’s customer experience

Nike, Tom Ford, Google,Starbucks, Lush Cosmetics, Patagonia, Ikea and Wipro are either well-established businesses which had to respond in some ways to the green pressures coming from consumers or brands which were born with the precise purpose of serving ecological needs.

The fact that they come from different market sectors and operate in different areas allows us to come up with a general and world-wide overview. We used the KPI6 suite to pick both brand and user-generated tweets so as to gain both a business-based and a consumer-based perspective of the problem.

Different levels of engagement stem from different approaches to green solutions. The top 3 brands in terms of engagement are those which are louder on their green initiatives.

Indeed Tom Ford has recently launched a watch entirely made from Ocean plastic, Patagonia is a sustainable fashion brand, very active in environmental related campaigns on social media and Ikea is quite constant in promoting its sustainable solutions.

Top user engagement

From a consumers’ perspective, instead,  by filtering TomFord related tweets between those posted before the launch date and those posted after, we came up with a close approximation of consumers intention to buy through the sentiment analysis.

The Tom Ford case is relevant because of its recent launch of an Ocean Plastic made watch which provoked a significant discussion on Twitter. After the launch there is a percentage of negative tone making the overall consumers’ positive attitude slightly weaker.

This, of course, does not represent evidence that the new consumers will buy green products. On the contrary there is a part of customers which is not interested in this watch.

sentiment green product 1
sentiment green product 2

This is confirmed also by the analysis consumer attitude towards Starbucks periodical green initiatives, in particular the selling of reusable cups. 

The most of the users are positively impacted by such initiatives, but a consistent part manifests concerns which are mainly related to the lack of constancy of this brand.

Sentiment starbucks

Finally, another relevant feature is the actual level of customer engagement stemming from environmentally related topics which results in a very consistent value.

metrics

Happiness is in the Air!

world conversation map

The first insight is that conversations about the topics of eco-sustainability are widespread, as the world-map above shows. 

We used the Google Maps extension on the KPI6 suite to dive into the different percentages, which have different colors: red, orange and blue. In this way, we were able to see that the highest percentages, which are those in red and orange, are in correspondence of the most polluted cities.

From this, we were able to conclude that the need for ecological solutions is stronger in places where the problem of pollution is more present: we can argue that “happiness in the air!”

Any publicity is good publicity!

The second insight is that, although the overall sentiment in green conversations is prevalently positive, the percentage of negative sentiment is not so small: one of the main factors is the premium price that brands ask for green products. Another reason is linked to the fact that many firms still put too little effort in the environmental cause, making consumers complain.

To buy or not to buy?

From this we derived that, promoting or selling green products does not necessarily have a positive impact on customers’ intention to buy: in particular it depends on how much and how often brands engage in green initiatives, and also on the price. This provides an answer to our initial problem.

In conclusion, sustainability has become a compelling opportunity for companies to have a greater engagement with consumers who care about the issue, and they should leverage this in order to gain all the benefits of this journey towards change.