Not all affluent consumers are environmentally conscious and not all environmentally conscious consumers are affluent. But there is a decent overlap between the two – and I believe that there is opportunity in that shared space for forward-looking marketers.
During the past few years, I’ve seen firsthand how my clients have adapted to meet the needs of eco-conscious affluents: Viking Range was early in the development of green technology, such as induction. ClimateMaster has been expanding its footprint selling geothermal heating and air products. Even my utility client, Entergy, has doubled down on energy efficiency education during the past few years. It’s a trend that continues to gain momentum.
Looking ahead, I think we’ll see more affluent consumers embrace LEED-certified homes. Launched by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building program that verifies and rates a building’s environmental efficiency. Originally created for commercial projects, USGBC launched a residential component in 2008 called LEED for Homes.
Total LEED for Homes certified units are still a relatively small percentage of the total at the moment, but the year-over-year growth rate is impressive. Why? I think that affluent consumers are attracted to the functional benefits (healthier homes and lower operating costs) as well as the emotional benefits (reducing their footprint and demonstrating their street cred). Plus, it’s just a good bet financially.
“With proper planning, green homes can be built for the same cost as conventional homes, and they’re resold for more money in less time than traditional homes,” says the USGBC in a recent report, LEED in Motion. “LEED homes can qualify for discounted insurance, tax breaks and other incentives.”
In fact, one might argue that a LEED-certified home is itself a premium brand, since green-labeled homes sell at higher prices, according to the report. “A green label adds an average 9% price premium according to a study that analyzed 1.6 million homes sold in California between 2007 and 2012.”
Since LEED certification depends on a wide variety of metrics, many high-end brands stand to benefit – ranging from materials and resources, energy efficient products and high efficiency fixtures, as well as heating, cooling, and ventilation products. That’s why I’ve written about the impact of modular housing and smart homes in recent posts.
Think about how your brand might benefit from a focused effort in this arena. It’s certainly not for every high-end brand, but with a little imagination, you may be surprised how relevant your brand could be to this eco-conscious, affluent audience.
If you are interested in learning more about the LEED in Motion study, you can find it here.