Music changes our perception of “green” products


In recent years, consumers have viewed sustainability as an important purchasing factor. According to a Global Report 2021 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the popularity of durable goods in Google Shopping searches has increased by around 71% globally since 2016. In addition, a Survey 2021 reveals that approximately 68% of people in the United States said they would pay more for sustainable products, a significant increase from 56% in 2020.

Despite the positive attitude of consumers towards sustainable or green products, they do not always go through with the purchase. This demonstrates a gap between their intention and their actual behavior when it comes to sustainable consumption, also known as the “attitude-behaviour gap”.

Companies need to take different approaches to address the contributing factors and radiation consumer behavior to close this gap. According to some researchers, even the choice of music in advertisements plays a crucial role in convincing consumers to buy a green product.

Buyers have an attitude-behaviour gap when it comes to sustainable consumption

Following through on sustainable shopping is easier said than done, especially when sustainable options are scarce in your regular stores.

“It’s much easier to like something or the idea of ​​something than to do something,” says Karen Winterich, Gerald I. Susman Professor of Sustainability at Penn State Smeal College of Business. “It usually takes a lot more effort to engage in a behavior when it’s pretty easy to tell you feel favorably about it.”

In addition to effort, it adds other factors that cause the attitude-behaviour gap, such as time, money, and lack of habits. Consumers may not always be willing and able to commit their resources to sustainable consumption or simply forget.

[Related: Dozens of companies with ‘net-zero’ goals just got called out for greenwashing.]

Sometimes individuals do not have the access or the infrastructure to adopt sustainable behaviors. For example, if a concert hall prohibits people from bringing reusable water bottles or provides no refilling stations, consumers may be forced to purchase bottled water. Their behavior won’t match their attitude, says Winterich.

Lack of proper product labels or brand information is another factor, says Haiming Hang, associate professor of marketing at the University of Bath. Finally, consumers may be reluctant to change their purchasing habits.

Music affects consumer behavior and influences purchase intent

However, advertising can play a key role in convincing someone that a product is environmentally friendly and that they should buy it. In study 2022 published in the european journal of marketingresearchers have found that using major mode music with a fast tempo in advertising helps consumers put their good intentions into practice.

Fashions are scale patterns with different melodic characteristics. Tempo, on the other hand, is the speed of a song. Often the major scales are associated happily, while the minor scales are more melancholy. “Do-Re-Mi” from The sound of music is typical Example large-scale music.

To examine how music can affect consumers’ purchase intentions, the authors created four radio ads each for two fictional green products: an electric car and a reusable coffee mug. Each product had an ad that used three types of background music and one that had no music at all. “In our research, we have used “fake” brands because we are not aware [of] any brand or eco-friendly product using fast-paced major mode music in their advertising,” says Hang, one of the study’s authors.

But this is not the first time that music and sound have been studied in advertising.

Based on their experiments, Hang and his co-authors found that music with a major scale pattern exceeding 94 beats per minute reduced the attitude-behavior gap by approximately 40-50% compared to alternatives, regardless of advertised product or consumer music. Context. A lack of music or an addition, slower, scarier music didn’t have the same impact.

“In other words, we argue that advertising music can play a vital role in enticing consumers to buy green products by increasing their brand reviews,” Hang says.

According to a study 2017 published in the Marketing Research Journal, differences in the sound of a person’s voice or a piece of background music influence consumers’ perception of product attributes. For example, a lower pitch in voice or music may cause consumers to imagine a larger product size. A study 2021 also found that an ad with background music evokes stronger consumer purchase intent than the same ad that only uses narration.

Still, the ad is perfect. What you see on TV or hear about on the radio may be slightly different from what actually ends up in your basket. And this is especially true when it comes to products defined as sustainable or green. The scope of the study only looked at green products, but what makes a product “green” may vary from person to person.

[Related: How to tell if your sustainable investments really are good for the planet.]

Businesses may also use musical advertising signals to greenwashinga marketing practice by which companies mislead consumers about the environmental benefits or sustainability of a particular product or service. Dozens of companies have come under fire for to conceal less-than-green factors on their products and to falsely expand eco-friendly claims.

Advertisements can use music to entice the consumer to feel more optimistic about the brand, even if they don’t receive factual and comprehensive information about its alleged environmental performance.

“On a general level, considering the impact of music on feelings or emotions,” says Winterich, who was not involved in the study. “Consumers may not recognize that their feeling is caused by the music, which may drive the [effect] from music to report to impact their attitude and behavior towards the product. »

Companies can do more to overcome barriers to sustainable procurement

It is crucial to focus on reducing consumer barriers to sustainable consumption so that the purchase of green products does not depend on consumers’ attitude towards green products.

“Even if someone doesn’t have a very strong attitude towards sustainable consumption, they can still adopt sustainable behavior because it’s more convenient, cheaper, or more popular than the traditional alternative,” says Winterich. “This removal of barriers and focus on benefits should hold more promise than just focusing on closing the gap.”

For example, companies should make it more convenient for consumers to adopt sustainable behaviors. Starbucks promised move away from single-use plastics and provide easy access to personal or store-supplied reusable cups by 2025. However, to be successful, companies need to ensure they put in place the infrastructure to enable consumers easily get on board with it, says Winterich.

It is also important to destroy the common notion that “sustainable” always means “expensive”. Even if a product is only priced higher because it is more durable and long-lasting, the cost may deter consumers from purchasing it unless the business can demonstrate that it is saving money. money over time, says Winterich. Consumers are also more likely to participate in sustainability initiatives – like take-back programs for reuse or recycling – when companies recognize consumer participation, as it makes them feel more like a partner to the company. , she adds.

Ultimately, product advertising, which includes music used by companies, is only worthwhile if companies don’t adopt sustainable behavior themselves.

“If companies aren’t taking the necessary sustainable action,” says Winterich, “they shouldn’t put pressure on consumers to do so.”


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