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The Red Queen and the conscious consumer

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” – Lewis Carroll

The faster brands adapt their products and services to conscious consumption trends, so too does the marketplace and context in which they compete. We explore here how brands can avoid the Red Queen effect – running ever faster to stay in the same place – by building authentic and enduring relationships with consumers.

Until recently, many dismissed the market for ethical goods and services as a niche. That is no longer the case. Fairtrade’s global annual sales topped US$9 billion for the first time in 2017, growing at 8%. The UK’s Ethical Consumer market report for 2018 revealed strong growth in key categories: ethical clothing up 19.9% and ethical food and drink up 16.3%. Opportunities for sustainable goods and services are booming. So too is the ability of online consumers to find such products and to ‘look beyond the label’ – an action, more than any other, that is coming to define the conscious consumer. There is now no shortage of apps and sites like Betterworldshopper.org and Good On You to assist them.

Yet, in this crowded space, how does a brand create a lasting relationship with ethical conscious consumers to engender a fierce loyalty to an outstanding sustainable product or service? The answer lies in...

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By David Blyth

Founder Delta Victor Bravo & Africa Partner for eatbigfish. Experienced strategy practitioner with global and continent-wide experience in leading Marketing, Research, Insight, Technology and Organisational Change projects for blue-chip companies.

By Mark Irvine

Communications specialist at DNV GL in Oslo

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