Nowadays green is a new evolving concept to furnish marketing with image branding and marketing spin. If we look beyond, we found how ethical or green it is (product/services). This is real/true rather than rational. After stripping, we explore the product; who made or grew- this information or using this, we can develop our ideas to connect with people. Originality of brand (branding) comes with image marketing to create sustainable brands (John Grant). This looks like a challenge for today’s generation, how they tackle the problem of consumer accountability w. r. t. green marketing. This is a huge challenge, but isn’t it giving a life a meaning? And we really don’t have plan B (perform or perish situation). In this paper, we explore the facets of green marketing with consumer accountability.
Consumer accountability is the current state of account of happy (satisfied) consumers with organization’s product or service. Organizations should consider policies before serving consumers. CSR Corporate Social Responsibility is a combination of economic responsibility (consumer buying behavior and reasonable profit), legal responsibility (follow laws and regulations), ethical responsibility (right decision making and follow the rules) and philanthropic responsibility (voluntary participation in societal programs/activities).
Organizations should understand the importance of green practices to lessen the burden of climate change or global warming. From making till disposal each process should get revised to avoid further consequences of impact on environment. Quality plays an important role to maintain long term relationship and sustain in the cut throat competition. An affordable price with quantity (justified amount of product) can lead to faith on brand followed by loyalty. Loyalty, brand and relationship are only visible when customer is happy with what you are offering continuously without hampering quality. That bond making brings sustainable association and growth with hard core relationship with consumers and brand. Genuineness is the only key if organization wants to sustain in competition. People take time to faith on but when they got assured then they will never ever leave organization in any crisis situation. That is the beauty of transparency with public. Organizations earned the faith of public by implementing policies which are in favor of society. The bond/ association become stronger day by day and results in purchase (regular mode). After purchase if organization fails to perform (false commitment) consumers refuse to return to the same brand and search for the suitable alternative. That means the only selling and earning profit once is not the mission for organizations. The vision is to get modified or revised with societal benefit flowed by organizations growth with sustainable relationship.
This above mentioned process of consumer accountability is applicable to any business. All traditional businesses can follow all policies depending upon their capacity. That means all policies are not structured when they designed vision and mission. Their ultimate aim is to earn profit. So, if scenario is only earning the profit then who will take care of consequences on earth. Who will think about proper disposal of product and not just only disposal it has to be in less detrimental to earth. Only green businesses have those strategies to take environmental dimension on priority. So, let’s understand the concept of green marketing.
It is the study of all efforts to consume, produce, distribute, promote, package and reclaim products in a manner that is sensitive or responsive to ecological concerns (Robert Dahlstrom, 2010). A firm has to make efforts to pursue green marketing and focus on sustainability as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Firms can pursue green marketing via triple bottom line perspective focused on achieving economic, relational and ecological outcomes (Robert Dahlstrom, 2010).
Beyond the environmental benefits that can accrue from green marketing, several sectors of the global economy benefit from green marketing. Emerging economy have potential to curb hunger and poverty by engaging in green marketing. Incorporating with green marketing can result into consumer welfare and enhancement in corporate strategy. There is need for consumers and government to understand green marketing but some firms should understand green marketing to retain their environmental reputations and brand exposure like always.
Several analyst of green marketing defines the psychographic segmentation of consumers to distinguish them on the basis of consumption pattern.
- True Blues. Consumers (politically active) with strong environmental values that seek to bring about positive change and avoid products which are detrimental to environment.
- Greenback greens. Consumers (politically inactive) concerns the sustainability and more willing to purchase environmentally friendly products than average consumers.
- Sprouts. Consumers appreciate the merits of environmental causes but they are making purchase of regular products; to avoid burden on pocket (not ready to pay more for green products).
- Grousers. Consumers tend to be cynical and uneducated about ecological concerns. They prefer traditional product over green (they might thought green products are expensive and less effective).
- Apathetics. Consumers do not concern with sustainability and green marketing practices.
It is interesting to know that the preferences of Pune consumers have shifted over the time. The number of greenback and sprouts are constant while true blue shows the increase and the result of these shows that grousers and apathetics are reducing day by day. Let’s jump into the actual methodology to grab the knowledge about what consumers are up to with green products.
- To understand consumer awareness of green marketing;
- To study the impact of demographic and psychographic factors on green marketing;
- To study the market for green products;
- To investigate the factors considerations for green products;
- To understand the satisfaction with the quality of green product.
A close and open ended questionnaire was made to explore the relationship between demographic (age, income, employment, education, gender, children) and psychographic factors (environmental consciousness, healthy, price, safety, quality, ingredient and label) with awareness of green marketing in FMCG personal care products; leads to prospective business in coming future. The consumer accountability is there but required to have more adhesive bond to get sustainable relationship and profit. All issues were discussed like price, promotion, brand, labeling, environmental concern and many more to derive the actual relationship with consumers. The respondents were selected from one of the major corporations in Pune (PMC). A questionnaire filled by 361 responses and data were collected. The duration for the data was July-Sept 2018. Questionnaire includes age, gender, education, employment status, income, gender, marital status, children to understand demographic profile of respondents. Then, the questions related to use of organic product category, green awareness level, benefits of green products towards environment, health, certifications and various brands of green products. Other than this we directly asked them about which green product they are using, cost is high compared to traditional, what characteristics should be there in green product if it launched, etc. There were many questions which gave us psychographic approach of respondents.
- Consumers are using green products in terms of cosmetics and personal care as people are aware about benefits of it.
- As half of the population knows importance of green products for the health, environment as well as their various types and symbols to pick the green one.
- Maximum consumers are happy with the price, quality and performance of green product so they are not lure to offers by brand.
- Print media and electronic media plays important role to generate awareness and so that consumers can accept new brand of green product with quality and affordable price.
- Some certifications or logo should be only for green product identification to avoid label content reading (no knowledge about contents).
- Consumers are very sure that there is a need for awareness in India about green product (proper understanding) (avoid situation of green myopia).
- Consumers are happy to accept the more green products but it should be healthy and with affordable price.
Consumers are aware (not 100%) of green products but firms should have to generate awareness among people through print and electronic media. Consumers are accepts the green product as they are health and price conscious but firm should revised their vision to get sustainable growth as if they are running green practices in long run. And lastly, people know everything about green product, even they are happy with quality so, what is bothering is firms continuous efforts to have bond with consumers by their visibility and character; comes with brand (consumer accountability in true sense).
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