Survey says: Quality is king and materials matter

This article is sponsored by Eastman.

We live in a decade of change and the planet will have 10 billion people on it in an instant. Tackling the triple challenge of mitigating climate change, mainstreaming circularity and caring for society is the key to improving the quality of life for any person, now and in the years to come.

As a materials technology leader, Eastman has the responsibility and opportunity to create influence through innovation. The company is already doing this by using molecular recycling technologies to revolutionize materials and enable high-performance circular products right now.

But activating circular products is only part of the story. Effective dissemination of the benefits of circular and sustainable products is crucial to encourage consumer purchases and demand for these products, which naturally nourishes the circular economy.

For several years, Eastman has been investing in global consumer research to better understand how to position sustainability toward consumers across key industries such as fashion, household items, electronics and construction and engineering. A database of more than 30,000 consumers has enabled Eastman to develop interdisciplinary insights to help fire partners talk about sustainability.

The two biggest takeaways? Quality is king and materials matter.

It is no surprise that quality is one of the most important purchasing factors for consumers. A product may have the best of the best sustainability requirements, but if the quality or performance suffers, it is a trade-off that consumers are not willing to make.

When examining what makes a product sustainable, materials matter. Materials define sustainability across product categories for consumers worldwide. This makes material selection the cornerstone of any brand’s sustainability strategy.

So now that we know that quality is king and materials matter, what should you keep in mind when communicating to consumers about sustainable products?

  • Become familiar with the legal guidelines: Consumer protection agencies around the world, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), outline what companies can and cannot say in marketing communications. In the US, FTC Green Guides are a great place to get started.
  • Be specific; avoid vague messages: This is an important takeaway from the FTC Green Guides. Not only can non-specific, vague messages confuse and mislead consumers, they can also put your business at risk of legislative or legal action.
  • Makes it easy for consumers to understand: For lower risk purchases, consumers can only consider for a moment when comparing products on the shelf or when buying online. Make sure your product packaging and online description details are clear, easy for consumers to understand, and that they lead with quality and materials.
  • Only make claims that you can substantiate: Trust is the key to achieving consumer loyalty. Always be truthful and transparent in your messages, and be sure to ask your material suppliers what requirements may or may not be made about your product.
  • Make sure to strengthen quality and performance: The many aspects of sustainability are constantly evolving, which can be overwhelming. Talking more about your sustainable materials offerings can help make sustainability more tangible for customers and help bring them on your sustainability journey.
  • Get help from the experts: It can be challenging to effectively tell the sustainable story of your product to consumers. Get help early from your legal or regulatory experts to make sure your messages meet all the requirements of the markets in which your products are sold.

While incredibly important, the points above are table games when it comes to marketing sustainable products. Eastman’s research shows that brands that want to position themselves as sustainable leaders or want to gain loyalty should send messages about their sustainable products in a way that assures consumers that they will not make any trade-offs of quality or performance.

To learn more about Eastman’s research, download “Sustainable Stories: Three Tips for Talking to Consumers About Sustainable Materials.”


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