Today's 'green' kids will drive brand image in 2020

Articles
October 15, 2008

Moms who don’t buy green stand a great chance of hearing about it from their kids. Dads who don’t recycle much or drive green, ditto. As retailers and CPG head down an increasingly pro-environmental road, they may want to tap this youthful energy with messaging for kids to help make their household purchases and practices greener. Not only could they form brand relationships and affect sales today, they could build memories for the year 2020, when kids who are now aged 8 to 18 will be wallet-toting, product-buying adults. Why think of that now?

Moms who don’t buy green stand a great chance of hearing about it from their kids. Dads who don’t recycle much or drive green, ditto.

As retailers and CPG head down an increasingly pro-environmental road, they may want to tap this youthful energy with messaging for kids to help make their household purchases and practices greener.

Not only could they form brand relationships and affect sales today, they could build memories for the year 2020, when kids who are now aged 8 to 18 will be wallet-toting, product-buying adults. Why think of that now?

Because in 2020, how they’ll live and buy will be shaped by what they’ve learned as youngsters. “They’ve grown up green and already express a point of view about healthy eating and sustainability. They and their networks—not companies—will control messaging about a brand,” says Lori Colman, CEO of Colman Brohan Davis, a Chicago marketing firm. “They’ll expect information instantaneously from shared digital networks, word-of-mouth and viral sources, social sites, smart phones or other devices.”

Attendees at the Healthy Foods Summit in London got a peek at life for their food brands in the consumer-controlled future, thanks to Colman’s presentation, “Marketing to the YouTube Generation: Are You Scared or Prepared?” Her take: “A networked society is a transparent society that empowers consumers. Companies must act now to embrace that future or they will be left behind.”

Findings from her firm’s 2008 Future of Foods Panel:

  • *More than half of kids ages 6 to 8 encourage their parents to buy ‘green’ products, and express concern about ‘green’ issues. Some 32% of boys and 44% of girls ages 6 to 11 go grocery shopping with parents most of the time. More children are exposed to where and how their food is grown via agritainment/agritourism.
  • 65% of U.S. consumers look at food nutrition labels more now than they did two years ago; 42% check labels before buying a product for the first time; 62% read an online review before making a decision.

This generation coming up will demand accountability, sustainability and transparency from food manufacturers and marketers. The sooner brands begin to assert these traits, the better.