In a society where once capitalism and corporate marketing perpetuated a belief in artificial needs and wants, the rise in conscious consumerism has increased the Canadian consumers’ awareness in social and environmental sustainability. The era of blind consumption is gradually fading and the proliferation of social media has created a more informed and therefore a more conscious consumer.
Conscious consumerism can be defined as customers who purchase products and services produced responsibly. Responsible production can encompass a range of social and environmental factors, such as ensuring fair labor practices and production manners with the aim of minimizing environmental impacts.
As more and more consumers identify themselves as conscious consumers, the need to understand who they are and what drives them becomes more important to business owners. Consumers reward consciously responsible companies through more purchases and punish other firms through boycotts and in recent cases through the use of social media.
With the emergence of social media consumers have become more connected to each other than ever. Examples of poor production or quality can now go viral via social media in a matter of seconds, leaving companies scrambling to protect their brand and market position. Conscious consumerism in conjunction with a reputation-based economy has left a demand for companies to be transparent about their practices and accountable for their impact on people and the planet.
One can say that the marketing power has shifted to the consumer. Social media has become a tool to educate and engage us in conscious consumerism. This means companies need to adjust their marketing campaigns so they can more adequately address today’s global, environmental, and social challenges.
Conscious consumerism inspires us to become more aware of the circumstances in which our products are made. Resources such as the internet, social media, and various apps have made it easier for consumers to research the manner and means in which a company’s products are produced. Today, a company’s license to operate is heavily influenced by the consumers of the world, and those consumers care about sustainability.
The power of the consumer is therefore never to be underestimated if a company wants to succeed.