On day four of Spikes Asia X Campaign, Gulshan Singh, national planning director, FCB Interface, spoke about how advertisers can encourage customers to adopt more sustainable choices.
He spoke about the barriers to those choices and why the creative communications industry can make and impact.
He said, "From the beginning of recorded history, one thing has been constant to humankind, and that is that we can be counted on to act on our self interests. It's a strong motivating factor as far as human behaviour is concerned. It's long been clear we need to adopt a more sustainable way of life and the creative communications industry has a role to play in this."
He then listed down three factors which have driven large-scale human behavour changes historically.
1: Consumer demand
Singh explained, "Humankind has been obsessed with flying for years. Let's call that consumer demand. But it took a while for technology to catch up with this demand. In 1783, the first man hot air balloon was created and it took until 1903 for the Wright brothers to get their first manned heavier than air flight in the air. Regulations followed and while they lagged demand and technology in this place, they played a key role to develop the aviation industry to reach where it is today."
Even though the world is looking for it, and studies stating that consumers are increasingly more accepting of a sustainable lifestyle, Singh states that there's a relatively low rate of adoption of sustainable behaviour.
Explaining why this is happening, he said, "It's about how sustainable living choices have been positioned to the consumers. They have been positioned as been alternatives and not part of the mainstream. A lot of consumers feel being mainstream makes them feel accepted. So, that takes sustainable options off the table. The second problem is that these problems are being postioned to be for someone else. The masses believe these options are not for them. The third problem is that they haven't been positioned as desirable. This could be because a lot of the early efforts in sustainability were creating greener versions of existing products which led to them not as powerful or goodlooking. To a lot of consumers, sustainable choices have not been sexy enough."
He added, "So far, with notable exceptions, the narrative has been about impending doom, or virtue signalling, or feel-good but ineffective communication. We need creative communication to shift the focus from making sustainability the main story to creating relevance in the consumers’ life. This will help increase consumer demand for sustainable living choices and encourage businesses and government to respond, creating a virtuous cycle, and lead to a more sustainable world."