Climate change turns personal: Why brands must adapt

Until recently, climate change remained an abstract concept to most Americans -- something that may have long-term consequences for the planet, but moving too slowly be a significant concern in their daily lives.

Today, however, such sentiments may be beginning to change. As more and more Americans experience such events firsthand, they're beginning to make the connection between climate change and its growing impact. Natural disasters and extreme weather events such as high winds and rain storms, floods, droughts and heat waves are happening more frequently -- and with greater intensity.

There's some evidence supporting Americans' change in attitude: A recent survey conducted by Yale and George Mason universities indicates that the vast majority of Americans agreed that climate change is making natural disasters and extreme weather events worse. More than a third of respondents reported that they personally experienced "harm" to their property, finances or physical or mental health from a natural disaster or extreme weather event in the past year alone.

Brands should take note: Climate change is becoming more relevant for Americans as its effects become more personal.  Crossing such a threshold is significant as it means that consumers will likely become more attuned to corporate activities that impact climate change – either positively or negatively. This, in turn, could significantly impact brand favorability, preference and purchase over time. Consumers may seek to reward brands that help reduce the impact of climate change, while penalizing those that do not.

Photo of earth painted on face provided by Semmick Photo via Shutterstock

Next page: Factors reinforcing the growing influence of climate change on daily lives