Developing targeted, actionable communications that change how yuppies and young mothers shop

In the early days of August 2018, a small news item briefly made headlines: we’re consuming nature’s resources 1.7 times faster than the planet’s ecosystems can regenerate them, said the Global Footprint Network.

Slowing down this burn rate has topped the agenda of leading conservation organisations worldwide – such as WWF.

But how can we make ‘sustainable consumption’ desirable in societies where millions are progressively having the means to purchase more than their immediate needs? The question ping-ponged in our minds as we set off to WWF-Indonesia’s office in Jakarta in early 2017. The organisation had been running the Beli Yang Baik (Buy the Right Thing) campaign for a few years already, an effort to encourage people to choose more responsibly-produced goods.

When we reviewed the Beli Yang Baik campaign, a few opportunities stood out to make it more effective to change consumption behaviours.

We suggested to map out the potential target audiences that are the most likely to adopt the desired shopping behaviours; tweak the ‘key asks’ so that they are clearer, simpler, and easier to understand; and to identify most effective channels to deploy the campaign. We also suggested to engage stakeholders in the design process. This way, by adapting to fit the needs of the target audience - instead of the other way round - the campaign could hopefully be even more meaningful to them.

We began by identifying buyers’ key motivations, using market research conducted by WWF-Indonesia and Nielsen. Given their purchasing power and preferences, we determined that young mums and yuppies would be receptive target audiences for Beli Yang Baik.

So we invited representatives of these groups, as well as local creatives and retail representatives, to join us for a co-creation workshop to brainstorm communications that would encourage sustainable consumption. These discussions made it clear that Beli Yang Baik’s call to “Buy Good” was just too abstract for most consumers to apply to their daily lives.

Working with yuppies and a few young mums at the workshop, Catalyze designed a communication strategy and associated products that would translate the abstract goal of “buying good” into more actionable messages:

Each sub-brand provides a call to action specific to a sub-category of products. At the furniture store, consumers should “Buy Durable”. When it comes to fresh produce, we should “Buy Local”. Corresponding with each sub-brand, Catalyze designed posters, displays, banners, videos, and social media material to spread the word.

Before these communications hit the streets, we brought them back to the target audiences to evaluate whether the messaging, visuals, and placement of the proposed communications was effective. Was it meaningful? Did it stick?

Following additional product testing on social media and in supermarkets in Jakarta, we’ll give the Beli Yang Baik campaign a final fine-tuning for optimal effect. With that done, WWF will be able to extend the campaign with more precision – and hopefully better results.