People may seek out the sustainable version of a product they’re interested in, but no one is in the market for a product just because it’s sustainable.
If you ask a person on the street if sustainability is important to them, you are likely to get a resounding “Yes.” According to NeilsenIQ, “78% of consumers say a sustainable lifestyle is important to them,” while First Insight notes that “62% of Gen Z shoppers prefer to buy from sustainable brands, and a staggering 73% are willing to pay more for sustainable products.”
This may lead some to believe that the key to success nowadays is putting sustainability first and foremost. Since it’s so overwhelmingly popular, if you’re looking to create a product, it’s natural to think that ideation should center around making the world a better place. And I have seen this in action. I’ve spoken with those trying to start a business or searching for a role in a start-up, and they prioritize sustainability over everything. However, this kind of thinking misses a crucial part of how companies win over consumers.
What I think companies must do is separate their vision statement from their mission statement.
Vision Statement: The value of the product for the consumer.
Mission Statement: The beneficial byproduct of a successful vision statement, whether that be social or environmental.
The vision statement is the story that consumers see, and which helps them understand why they should buy what you’re selling. This should be the primary objective of a company. If that vision is successful and begins to gain traction, consumers will begin to see the mission statement automatically. Companies may have a very strong and admirable mission statement, but they will only receive support from consumers once their vision succeeds.