These aren’t your mother’s ads: Conscious Consumers force the evolution of mainstream brand advertising

My mom was an early adopter of Conscious Consumerism. Under the influence of Ralph Nader and Consumer Reports in the 1970s, she hung a poster on the inside of a cupboard door in the kitchen that my sisters and I would consult to determine if we could make a request for the family grocery list. We quickly realized that anything red or orange (goodbye cherry Kool-Aid, goodbye Planters Cheez Balls) or with spokespeople like the Keebler Elves and Tony the Tiger would not be in our mom’s grocery cart. We learned to look for ingredients like MSG and the dreaded yellow no. 4.

That bled over to “store-bought treats.” I’d envy the kids who opened lunch boxes filled with Fritos and Hostess fruit pies while I ate my peanut butter celery and homemade apple cheddar muffins. (Hindsight is 20/20, right?)

Those kids … Read More »



The Conscious Consumer long tail: Fueling a micro economy

In 2006, Chris Anderson, the Editor in Chief for Wired Magazine, wrote The Long Tail. (link to his TED talk) In the book he describes an economy that is being driven by small businesses. An economy where opportunities reside in the niches, and are driven by individuals versus a select few larger corporations. He discusses how this leveling of the playing field for competition will be driven by technology. But the interests and behaviors of Conscious Consumers are also driving it.

We don’t have to look far to understand that disruption is upon us. That the “long tail’ is alive and active. One area is in the grocery trade, which has recently seen significant competition from the growth of co-ops, CSAs and farmers markets. What were once smaller niche players like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have grown into serious competitors. While … Read More »



How self-stories drive Conscious Consumers behavior

When designing websites for our clients, we are constantly challenged to look for ways to drive engagement: to get visitors to view a video, sign up for email newsletters, download whitepapers, become of a fan of social channels, use toolsets or even play a game. The theory, which has been proven time and time again, is that if someone interacts with one or more of these engagement “levers,” brands can forge deeper customer relationships and in turn drive brand loyalty and preference. However, when sites just focus on these direct response tactics (sign up, download now, join us), often visitors leave unfulfilled, uninspired and unmotivated to return. Brands end up spending more and more money trying to drive customers to sites that consumers have no interest in revisiting.

The key to a great website is one that encapsulates the perfect balance … Read More »



The biggest purchase many Conscious Consumers will never make

Our study of Conscious Consumers, in partnership with Mintel, includes asking a battery of questions to determine what has influenced where participants currently live and what will influence them the next time they move. The implications of these findings were covered in this post and highlighted attributes that are becoming more important to Conscious Consumers, especially those looking to move now.

Many of these attributes – including walkability, public transportation, bike/running trails and a vibrant cultural scene – are typically more accessible to Conscious Consumers who find the appeal of renting versus owning.

These access issues coupled with financial issues (student loans, slow growing economy) facing many Millennials means the dream of homeownership is not on their radar. In fact, the percentage of 18 to 34 year olds living at home with their parents or relatives is approaching levels we haven’t seen … Read More »



Talking where Conscious Consumers are listening

It’s difficult to imagine a seal of approval more noteworthy than one from the leader of the free world. But that’s exactly what Snapchat received when the White House’s digital strategy team announced that they’d be adding the app to their list of official communication channels.

This is a particularly savvy move by an administration determined to utilize emerging media in its established communication patterns. Having already launched well-trafficked profiles on Twitter and Facebook in addition to a notable AMA on Reddit, President Obama’s team is adapting to and evolving with an ever-changing market place.

According to the White House’s official press release, over 60% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 34 use Snapchat. It doesn’t take a media strategist (which I am) to realize that this represents a huge opportunity for a brand (or, you know, the President), to … Read More »