How Brands Create Accidental Activists Through Design and Performance

How Brands Create Accidental Activists Through Design and Performance

Companies around the world are becoming more proactive in their sustainability approaches and marketing efforts. It’s not just consumers leading the way to sustainability, but companies are using their influence to lead consumers to sustainability as well.

Crystal Barnes, SVP, Global Responsibility & Sustainability, Nielsen, recently sat down with Kendra Peavy, VP, Global Communications, S’well to learn more about how this reusable water bottle company is doing just that.

“Sustainability is playing more of a role, but the first driver is design and performance,” said Peavy. “We love to surprise and delight. One of the magical things about S’well is that by consumers loving and using [our products], they’re doing good in the world. We like to call it ‘accidental activists.’ They don’t have to be thinking sustainability; they just have to love it and by using it, they’re doing good for the planet.”

Companies are making strides to take a more holistic approach by looking up and down the value chain to meet consumers’ evolving needs in innovative ways. And in our digital and social media age, transparency and authenticity are key.

In our latest report, “What’s Sustainability Got To Do With It?” Barnes tells brands, “With all of the various sustainability factors and evolving trends in play, companies need to understand whether and how these broader sentiments play out for their specific brand and consumer profile. For example, who are the consumers you have yet to reach? Does your product have a sustainable attribute—and could leveraging sustainability claims on product packaging present a new market opportunity?”

As a company focused on ridding the world of single-use plastic bottles, S’well remains authentic and relevant, and Peavy tells Barnes that it does so by integrating sustainability into its ethos and by closely listening to consumers.

“Sustainability is part of our DNA,” said Peavy. “When [our CEO] Sarah started the company, it was with a mission to rid the world of plastic bottles. With that being a part of our story, sustainability is authentic, natural and it allows us to talk about it more and more.”

Hear more from Peavy and Barnes on the Nielsen Database podcast.