Conscious Consumers: Where mindfulness meets marketing

(This blog post originally appeared as an article for AAR Partners)

Chances are good that you’ve noticed mentions of mindfulness popping up over the past year. It’s showing up on magazine covers, in elementary schools and even in museum programs. Maybe you’ve started up a yoga class, downloaded a meditation app or made changes to your diet. Though the practice has hit a mainstreaming inflection point, it can still feel like a stretch to authentically associate mindfulness and marketing.

In partnership with Mintel, Clarity Coverdale Fury conducts ongoing research on a consumer group called Conscious Consumers. It’s a set of segments that span a spectrum of health, eco and socially ethical attitudes and behaviors. The study findings are detailed in the biennial THINK Reports, and the 2017 issue identifies the emerging importance of mindfulness and the related marketing opportunities.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that consumers are embracing the practice of living in the present: According to the American Psychological Association’s 2017 Stress in America poll, 80% of Americans said that they experienced at least one symptom of stress in the past month — the highest in the report’s history (est. 2007).

Consumers have started to see mindfulness as an antidote to feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or sad. The THINK Report found that 48% of American adults have participated in at least one of three measured mindfulness-related activities: yoga for stress reduction, meditation or breathing exercises. Around half say they’ve stuck with it for over a year, and 19% say they practice on the regular.

The report also identified an interesting correlation: Conscious Consumers who report practicing two or more mindfulness activities per week are more likely to say that they’ll pay significantly more to purchase from a company that shares their values. In fact, they’re more than four times as likely to make that indication than those who don’t participate in any mindfulness practices.

It’s the intersection of values that makes a difference to the most mindful Conscious Consumers. They want to know if and how a brand supports what’s important to them. And now, consumers’ mindfulness allies aren’t confined to yoga studios and granola bags; consumers are open to finding advocates in areas that aren’t traditionally about living in the moment:

Inspiration Activation: How Marketers Can Tap into Mindfulness

  • Sometimes, the most powerful way for a brand to promote its presence is by providing a voice that gives people permission to consider a positive attitude or behavior. Practicing mindfulness isn’t always easy in a culture that bestows bragging rights to the busiest people. Consider messaging opportunities to give your audience permission to embrace the benefits.
  • Nudge Conscious Consumers in the direction of living in and welcoming the now. Show them how your products or services can help them make the most of the present moment.
  • Not an expert … or is your brand in an area that’s just adjacent to mindfulness? That’s okay. Explore options to partner with an established and trusted name. Conscious Consumers will appreciate the effort to make mindfulness more accessible as a concept or practice.
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