Introducing CloudArmy's Sustainability Research Practice
Welcome to CloudArmy's Sustainability Research Practice. Our mission is to provide comprehensive neuromarketing research solutions that assist businesses in understanding and navigating the complex terrain of sustainable consumption.
Our practice is led by Dr. Michael Smith, a renowned neuroscientist, author of 'Inspiring Green Consumer Choices,' and a veteran in the neuromarketing industry. "I am delighted to be leading the Sustainability practice,” says Dr. Smith, “the combination of CloudArmy’s research methods for uncovering non-conscious beliefs, associations, and biases, plus the new emerging science of how we perceive sustainability, is, I believe, very powerful for helping organizations chart their way to a sustainable future."
Bridging the Say/Do Gap
Traditional market research methods can sometimes fall short when it comes to accurately gauging consumer attitudes towards sustainability. The 'say/do gap', a discrepancy where claimed behaviors don't align with actual actions, is particularly pronounced in this field, largely due to the social desirability of sustainable behaviors.
Our approach employs advanced neuromarketing techniques, including Implicit Response Testing and other timed-response measures, to delve deeper into the unconscious mind. We uncover genuine, automatic attitudes and associations, providing a more authentic representation of how consumers truly feel about sustainability.
A Variety of Research Areas
Our research methodologies can be applied to a wide range of research questions around the topic of sustainability. To take just several examples:
Consumer Insights: Implicit and behavioral science can decode factors driving consumers towards sustainable choices, considering underlying values, social norms, and emotions.
Sustainable Design: These sciences can guide the creation of products and services that inherently encourage sustainability, making eco-friendly behavior more intuitive and rewarding.
Sustainability Messaging: Utilizing implicit cues and behavioral insights can enhance communication strategies, emphasizing the widespread adoption of sustainable practices to motivate similar behavior. For example, our timed-response methods can answer questions like: Which sustainability-related logos and icons are consumers best able to identify?
Nudging Sustainability: Businesses can employ behavioral nudges, subtly steering consumers towards eco-friendly actions, such as making sustainable products more visible or providing comparative energy usage feedback.
Workplace Sustainability: Implicit and behavioral science can foster internal sustainability, designing incentives that promote eco-friendly actions among employees. Which areas of sustainable business are your employees most committed to, and which are they more likely to non-consciously resist or have concerns about?
Shaping Sustainable Habits
Consumer behavior is often rooted in ingrained habits, presenting a hurdle for brands aiming to promote sustainable products and services. These habitual behaviors, shaped by implicit attitudes, cognitive biases, and associative memory networks, can resist change, posing a risk to brands that attempt to disrupt these patterns without careful navigation.
Any significant alterations to a product, its packaging, or brand identity could unsettle these consumer habits, potentially leading to a loss in market share.
Leveraging the principles of behavioral science and neuromarketing, we delve beyond mere observation of habits. We unearth the subconscious associations and automatic processes that underpin them. Our research harnesses the power of cognitive psychology and behavioral economics to provide actionable insights. These insights enable businesses to comprehend and subtly influence these automatic behaviors, fostering a smoother transition towards sustainable initiatives. By applying behavioral nudges and understanding decision-making heuristics, we can help guide consumers towards more sustainable choices without disrupting their comfort zone.
Designing for Automatic Associations
In the realm of sustainability, packaging design plays a crucial role. It can automatically trigger the right associations, desires, and understanding in the consumer's mind.
As you move to more sustainable packaging formats, how can you ensure that you still cue important emotional qualities?
Our neuromarketing methods, including Implicit Association Tests and online eye-tracking, can provide insights into how consumers visually interact with packaging. This allows us to guide design decisions to ensure they align with, and effectively communicate, the sustainability goals of your product.
A Track Record of Pioneering Research
CloudArmy's commitment to sustainability is not just theoretical. We have already conducted pioneering international research in this area, cementing our position as leaders in the field and providing our clients with the assurance of practical experience and proven methodologies.
For example, for Fortune 500 consulting firm Accenture, CloudArmy used implicit association test (IAT) methodology to uncover unconscious biases and true attitudes around sustainability among corporate executives. This technique aimed to get around the common "say-do gap" where executives may profess support for sustainability but act differently in practice. 280 senior executives took the IAT, rapidly associating barriers like complexity with sustainability transformation versus business as usual. The results revealed that while executives see sustainability as slower and less reliable compared to business as usual, they also believe that maintaining business as usual is actually more complex and costly. So strong tailwinds exist for sustainability, and not acting is becoming more expensive and complicated, countering the “trade-off” narrative. However, concerns around the speed and reliability of sustainability initiatives persist. The implicit methodology helps explain the say-do gap that hinders progress and can identify ways to accelerate sustainable transformation by updating business case criteria.
We partnered with behavioral science agency Behaven to conduct research for the WWF on perceptions of eating meat. Among other findings, we confirmed that the phrase ‘Plant-based’ was intuitively more appealing than ‘Vegan’.
And with the Australian research agency Sprout, we studied students’ attitudes towards green issues versus their actual sustainable behaviors. Students expressed positive environmental attitudes but did not report matching sustainable actions, a clear example of the “say-do” gap. Factors like lack of knowledge and situational barriers contributed to this discrepancy.
A Comprehensive Resource
In conjunction with the launch of our Sustainability Research Practice, we're offering a landmark white paper. This document, available for download here, provides a detailed analysis and summary of findings from published Implicit research on consumer behaviors and attitudes toward sustainable and green products and packaging. This resource is a testament to our commitment to staying at the forefront of the sustainability research field.
Engage with CloudArmy
At CloudArmy, we're passionate about helping businesses understand and influence how people feel and behave towards sustainability. Our team is eager to support your company's sustainability journey, providing in-depth research and insights tailored to your unique challenges and goals.
To learn more about our Sustainability Research Practice, or to discuss how we can assist your organization, please contact us.
We look forward to partnering with you to inspire green consumer choices and to foster a more sustainable future.
You may also like to explore our podcasts on research for World Wildlife Fund about plant-based diets, the use of Behavioral Science to support sustainability, and our podcast with Michael Smith on the application of Neuroscience to understanding consumer behavior.