11 Sep 20 | Opinion
As a former customer sustainability director, Jake Backus knows a thing or two about how to speak to consumers. The storytelling must be relevant to brand values – and you shouldn’t always rely on research to guide the way, he tells Tom Idle
Can you always ask the consumer what you should do? No, because they don’t know. You have to show foresight and not rely on just insight.
Coca-Cola has a really good understanding of brands and connecting with consumers. What research has revealed is that people are not motivated by doom and gloom, but by being optimistic and fun.
What the company has done really well is to start to tell better the stories about what it does. People who know about the good things a company does are three times more likely to be advocates for the brand. Most sustainability reports are not widely read, but the Coca-Cola Journey website has already had over 36 million unique visits because it makes those stories more meaningful and engaging.
How can business measure their success, or otherwise, in breaking through and helping to affect sustainable living/consumer choices?
They also need to see results. They need it to be de-risked and they need to see examples of what has already been done. After that, you can leave it to them to do it in their own way, which can often be so much better than we might have done it.
Consumers increasingly want to buy products from companies that share their values. Therefore, companies genuinely need to question what their values are, and how they are honestly being perceived outside of the ivory tower of self-regarding success and fawning agencies. Companies will need to question what their right is to exist – what are they doing which is positive for society, the environment and the economy? The reality is that anything else just won’t be sustainable.
Jake Backus will be speaking at Innovation Forum’s consumer engagement conference on 9th November. For full details click here.