National Geographic’s 2014 Greendex found that consumer attitudes about sustainability and the urgency of climate change are shifting, although rather slowly. The 2014 study finds half of consumers surveyed are anxious about climate change’s negative impact. Chinese consumers were among a group (along with Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and India) that displayed greater willingness to modify habits that affect the environment – while those from more affluent countries didn’t appear to feel as threatened by the impact of a changing climate.
It might sound strange, but could this yearning to do better in terms of sustainability and the environment represent a marketing opportunity for brands in China? We think so.
Interestingly, in our recent, unrelated global study on Premium positioning, we discovered some unique associations that Chinese consumers had with the Premium theme. Using our creative verbalization and visualization techniques, Chinese consumers were the only ones who associated environmentally-friendly, natural and healthy with Premium.
What comes to mind when Chinese consumers think about Premium? Unlike obvious associations such as ‘special reward’ or ‘VIP treatment’ in the other markets, in China we saw strong visual associations around natural, simple, health, good for them, and environmentally friendly. Using our engaging eCollageTM technique to express their Premium associations pictorially, Chinese consumers more frequently chose images that represented nature. And while gold and silk were among the top materials that signal premium across all markets, the Chinese were more likely to associate other materials found in nature like wood, cotton and diamonds.
Top words that are similar to Premium according to Chinese consumers include environmentally-friendly, natural, safe and dependable. Safe and dependable were notable word choices, considering recent food and product safety stories in the news.
To learn more about how Premium played out in China, and across the other markets in our study, or to learn about specific brands associated with Premium by category, download our Wooing The Premium Consumer white paper now.