SOURCE: Clearworks

December 15, 2009 12:16 ET

Customer Perception Determines Green Products and Services

Small and Medium Sized Business Concerned More About Quality Than Brand Reputation When It Comes to Going Green

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - December 15, 2009) - Clearworks, a San Francisco-based company offering a range of services to help companies build, launch and support new products, today announced the release of its most recent research analysis titled 'Green Products and Services - A Viewpoint from Consumers and Small and Medium Business.'

In conjunction with its partners, Green Resource Network, Infoco USA and Execute Now, Clearworks recently conducted a two-part research study that consisted of qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys with more than 275 consumers and SMBs throughout the United States.

The purpose of the comprehensive study was to obtain a national perspective at what these various audiences are doing with respect to green products and services and what they plan to do in the future. By looking at the various definitions of green, reasons for going green, barriers to becoming green and such, this study brings to light some remarkable insights around drivers and motivations for green that go beyond social consciousness, a factor that proves important for companies targeting audiences with green products and services.

According to Noël Adams, CEO of Clearworks, "While there is a lot more to learn in this space, this research gives us all a broad look at how consumers and small and medium business feel about going green and provides good inputs into messaging and marketing opportunities and challenges. Of particular note, at this stage, companies that provide green products and services need to focus on more than just the 'green' message to get consumer interest and buy-in."

According to the research report, the most prominent viewpoints from consumers and SMBs regarding market perception revolving around the concept of going green are as follows:

   -- Consumers and SMBs view the term "green" as most comprehensive (vs.
      terms such as clean and sustainable) - covering items from solar
      energy to organic food. When CPG marketers are promoting green
      products to consumers and SMBs, they should consider using the term
      "green" when selling predominantly eco-friendly, sustainable and
      clean technology products and services.
   -- Consumers and SMBs who buy green appear to have a sense of distrust
      or skepticism regarding claims that companies make about
      environmentally friendly products. 50% of the respondents
      highlighted their skepticism over green claims as a leading barrier
      to purchasing more greenly. This was especially true for
      participants in the 40+ age demographics, while those in the 18-40
      age groups were more trusting of the green claims.
   -- Brands marketing green products have to focus not only on the
      environmental benefits of using such products, but also on the
      elements of cost savings, health benefits and greater efficiency.
      Overall, consumers appeared to be most impacted by drivers that
      influence their lives in areas such as health and secondarily,
      economical benefits.
   -- Going green, step by step. Both Consumer and SMBs reported that
      they are open and willing to purchase green products in small doses
      with an eye towards financial commitment. In today's struggling
      economy, the smaller ticket items such as environmentally-friendly
      packaged goods and cleaning products, energy-efficient light bulbs
      and organic foods showed up as ready-made purchasable items in
      opposition to higher ticket items such as hybrid vehicles or
      energy-efficient appliances.

Consumer-Specific
   -- The demographics of who's buying green vs. who's not going green
      appears to be broken down more by age than geographical or
      financial.
      - Young consumers (18 to 40 years of age) appear to define their
        commitments to going green in regards to taking public
        transportation or biking and walking to work as an alternative
        to driving and consuming gas, etc. Yet, this age group
        alternatively appears to be less concerned than older people with
        respect to traditional green practices such as conserving
        electricity or minimizing their water consumption.
      - Middle aged consumers, specifically those in the age bracket of
        41-55, reported being focused on family-oriented green products
        such as solar panels or solar appliances

   -- Small and Medium Sized Businesses
      - There is great interest among SMBs in being green, with 4 in 5
        SMBs stating that they offer some green products or services.
      - Recycling paper, plastic and electronic goods are the most common
        current behaviors.  Energy efficient lighting is the most often
        cited green product in use at the office. Most likely future
        behaviors and purchases include employing a green janitorial
        service and buying energy efficient HVAC and energy efficient
        windows or plumbing fixtures
      - Responsibility for green initiatives at SMBs takes many forms.
        While green initiatives of some sort exist at over 70% of
        companies, no small businesses and only 9% of medium sized
        businesses had an employee on staff whose sole responsibility was
        managing green initiatives.
      - Of greatest importance to businesses in green purchasing decisions
        are having the time to research green alternatives and being
        assured of the quality of the goods/ services offered.  About a
        quarter of companies mention their customers' enhanced view of
        their company or brand is a lever for pursuing green alternatives.

Visit www.clearworks.net and download the summary research report today. If you would like copies of the detailed reports, contact info@clearworks.net with the subject line "More Green Reports" or call us at 888-769-3807.

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