Report: Activism is So Easy, It’s Hard. How Your Brand Can Help (The Pulse | Think T+O)
Posted December 3, 2015 by Maclaren Latta on Marketing

Experience Seekers are passionate people. They are well-educated, well-read and typically active in their communities. When it comes to environmental activism, most of them take a stand on topics they care about and will voice their opinions. Yet, sadly, most feel their individual efforts are futile.

I usually donate a small amount of money or sign a petition. But I feel that my voice and the impact are tiny.
Cynthia, member of the Think T+O™ Forum, MERCURYcsc’s proprietary panel of more than 1,500 Experience Seekers.
In our latest Pulse from Think T+O™, we were motivated by the recent expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to better understand the role activism plays in the lives of consumers who love travel and outdoors – the Experience Seeker.

What we found is that a majority of these consumers voice their opinions (78%) and get involved (63%) in issues that matter most to them, but many don’t feel what they are doing is effective. Twenty-two percent feel that publicly expressing their opinions is not at all effective, and 20% feel the same way about the other actions they take.

Another Think T+O Forum panelist, Elizabeth of Baltimore, Md., provides some additional thoughts: “We need to preserve and conserve some places in the world so that we know wildness always exists.” Yet, she’s only inclined to sometimes publicly voice her opinions, and she rarely takes other kinds of actions (e.g., volunteering, attending meetings, etc.).

Our insights show that despite their best intentions, an atmosphere of apathy exists among this group. Even though Experience Seekers are passionate about the outdoors, they aren’t always keeping current conservation issues top of mind. It’s not that they don’t care; they do. Yet there is a lack of continuum between caring, being aware, taking action and then believing those actions are effective.

On the brightside, this is a huge opportunity for brands and companies. Seventy-three percent of Experience Seekers feel that companies and brands could be very or extremely effective influencing environmental changes. This interest in having brands take the lead supports a newly emerging trend identified by called “Brand Sacrifice” – consumers’ desire for brands to make the world a better place.

What’s even more exciting is that 46% of Experience Seekers are interested in being part of efforts led by companies and brands, and another 45% are open to considering it.

Take a close look at the list of Experience Seeker’s most trusted organizations for environmental topics and you’ll find that many of them are working towards taking a stand, using their brand for good, and inviting consumers to be part of the brand experience.

One of the greatest opportunities is for organizations to use their brand power to create consumer awareness on important environmental topics. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly given its recent expiration, the majority of the respondents (58%) were unfamiliar with the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Even among those who prioritized land and water conservation, 56% weren’t familiar with it.

It’s hard to mobilize people when they aren’t familiar with an issue, even if they care about the outdoors. That’s a hard lesson learned, especially for brands that have been speaking out about LWCF.

Thanks to insights from the Think T+O Forum, it’s become apparent that if brands want to take a lead and activate their customers on causes they care about, then they will reap the rewards of customer loyalty and engagement. Brands have the opportunity to educate consumers on important environmental topics and then bring those customers along on their activist journey – which also means that brands will need to do less talking and more doing.

The opportunity is there; the customers are ready; now brands need to decide where to get involved and to what extent.

Learn more in our full report. We’ll provide you with results from The Pulse and actionable insights that you can use as you look to engage with your audience.