Can “gaining language” persuade more consumers to go green? – RetailWire


01 Oct 2021

New academic study finds that using ‘winning the tongue’ or highlighting possible positive outcomes is more effective in encouraging people to go green than ‘losing the tongue’ or highlighting potential negative outcomes.

“Gaining language is a message that says ‘you can save that amount of water if you reuse your towel or save that amount of electricity.’ Highlight the positive benefits of the proposed action, ”said Professor Priyanko Guchait, study co-author and University of Houston professor Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, in a Press release.

“Combine this strategy with peer pressure, or what’s called normative influence, and let it be known that 75% of customers reuse towels, for example. Then customers will be more likely to do the same because of this established social norm, ”he said.

For businesses, changing customer behaviors to be greener can save money while increasing their reputation, the researchers said.

A 2019 Warwick Business School study, in a similar way, found that appealing to ‘pride’, or making people feel good about their past accomplishments, is the best way to sell products. sustainable. The positioning also had to work to promote other sustainable behaviors, such as driving less and saving energy at home.

Senior researcher Hugh Wilson, professor of marketing at Warwick, said in a Release, “Attempts to encourage consumers to make more sustainable choices have traditionally been dominated by negative emotions, such as guilt and fear. While this has had some success, it can have a really bad side effect: people can lose heart and give up. “

In her delivered, “The Green Bundle: Pairing the Market with the Planet”, published in 2018, Magali Delmas, professor of management at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, asserts that the vast majority of consumers are “convenient environmentalists”, finding endless excuses. to not buy sustainable products, such as expense, inferior quality or unclear environmental claims and benefits.

It offers agreen bundle ”, combining the environmental good with the characteristics of the product – quality, safety, performance, status – which have always been sold. An excerpt from the book says: “Messages that combine sustainability and private benefits create a win-win situation for consumers. “

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What persuades you personally and, conversely, deters you from going green when purchasing a product? What a general the assumptions about reaching potential green consumers are wrong and which ones are working well?


“Positive reinforcement works. “

“Positivity is a big trait. The risk is that brands will miss the point and falsify positivity in green washing.”

“This is an old finding – we’ve known from BF Skinner’s early days that positive reinforcers are stronger than negative (avoidance) reinforcers.”



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