Working with consumers towards a better life for all New Zealanders

10 Apr 2019
SOURCE:
Alison Herft, Manager, Members and Consumer Programme

Brands have the power to support New Zealanders to live a good life that just happens to be a sustainable one.

What a privilege it was to present the Good Life 2.0 Playbook New Zealand to so many SBC members in Wellington and Auckland two weeks ago. There was a huge buzz in the room as we talked through our key findings – including that many of our assumptions about what New Zealanders say ‘living well’ means could be way off the mark – and ran a workshop on how to apply the Playbook’s data.

Of the 16 moments that New Zealanders say matter to them the most, 39% are quieter moments spent by themselves. This shows that more New Zealanders are a more individualistic culture than has previously been identified.

And the Playbook data showed that a ‘good life’ for many New Zealanders is mostly about experiences, not so much about purchasing something. People are enjoying lower impact lives made up of mostly no-spend or low-spend moments. We interpret this as saying that you can’t buy a sustainable lifestyle. Today’s symbols and signifiers of living well are, more than ever before, around experiences that are accessible to many New Zealanders, and easier to share.

This Playbook is a people-centred, deep survey of what really matters to New Zealanders. More than 600 people, from a broad range of backgrounds, provided the content that made up the Playbook, in the form of photo diaries and descriptions of highlights (and sometimes, lowlights) of their day. And from these photos and descriptions, we identified seven happiness mindsets and sixteen categories of moments – such as ‘taking a break’ and ‘maintaining my home - that matter most to New Zealanders.

Our Good Life 2.0 Playbook New Zealand was inspired by the original version by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and Havas in 2016, for the US market. And SBC, along with project partners Colmar Brunton, started out with a similar purpose to the US version: to produce a tool that could help businesses evolve their brand communications to reflect consumers’ views of a ‘good life’, that are about living a better, smarter, cleaner, healthier life.

Our original goal for this work was for businesses to use the research results to evolve their brand positioning to connect their company’s values and its sustainability actions with their customers’ vision of a more sustainable society. As we developed this work with our ‘pioneer group’ member companies, and during the big launch week, we could see that there was potential for much wider application of the Playbook data. Members have indicated that they’re planning to also use the playbook for its customer experience, insights, HR and other teams in the business.

And when we said to members that they could use the Playbook to check how their business strategies relate to their brand messaging, they went a step further and told us that the Playbook reminds them that businesses exist for their customers, not the other way around. And that it’s clear that people have to be brought back into the centre of business growth planning. Many members could see the business opportunities available by applying a wider lens on who their consumers are, what they care about, and what a good life looks and feels like for a modern, diverse society.

It is clear from the data that we have been oversimplifying who the consumer is, and what they want. What signifies a ‘good life’ to New Zealanders is more complex and nuanced than we are told by traditional research and media. So we encourage SBC members to use this data to question the assumptions they’ve made about what living well looks like to different people.

I’m looking forward to seeing how many SBC members will start to reframe the good life through their business culture and communications. And I’m excited to keep working with members on ways that we can help a good life become synonymous with a sustainable one.

Alison Herft is the Manager, Members and Consumer Programme at SBC.