Recyclable product packaging and direct mail 'key to brands' green image'

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New research commissioned by ONEPOST and jointly published by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and fast.MAP has revealed that the recyclability of product packaging and direct mail exerts the strongest force in shaping consumer perceptions of brands’ environmental credentials.

Environmentally responsible product packaging and direct mail are the key elements that shape consumer perception of a company’s environmental image, rather than in depth information on their websites. In this sense, brands must therefore treat these media as their environmental message.

New research commissioned by ONEPOST and jointly published by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and fast.MAP has revealed that the recyclability of product packaging and direct mail exerts the strongest force in shaping consumer perceptions of brands’ environmental credentials.

The inaugural Sustainability Tracking Study reports that product packaging is the most commonly cited reason for affecting a company’s environmental image, with nearly 60 per cent of consumers rating it as influencing their judgement. This compares with 47 per cent who take the kind of products the brand retails into account, and 16 per cent of consumers who actively research the environmental credentials of companies before making a decision to purchase their products.

As well as packaging, the study also highlights how a company uses direct mail makes a pronounced impact on how consumers perceive its environmental credentials. One third of consumers polled said that the presence of a recycle logo alone on an item of direct mail would lead them to perceive a company to be environmentally friendly. On the other hand, half of all consumers stated that polythene wrapping induces a negative perception, and 30 per cent pointed to incorrectly addressed mail as counting against a company’s environmental image.

Commenting on the findings of the study, the DMA’s chief of Membership & Brand, Robert Keitch, said:
“Environmentally responsible product packaging and direct mail are the key elements that shape consumer perception of a company’s environmental image, rather than in depth information on their websites. In this sense, brands must therefore treat these media as their environmental message.”    

Findings elsewhere in the report show that householders are recycling five times more items of direct mail than they were 18 months ago. Householders report that direct mail accounts for 15 per cent of their total recycling volumes, up from just 3 per cent in August 2008.

Graham Cooper, MD of ONEPOST, the UK’s leading independent postal advice and management company who commissioned the research, commented:

“The study unequivocally shows companies using environmentally friendly direct mail are much more likely to be to be well received by consumers. By doing so there are also great postage savings and we are helping more and more companies to realise these.”

Also commenting on the findings, David Cole, managing director of online research company fast.MAP, said:
“Consumers are conflicted over green issues. As responsible adults we’re aware of the effect consumerism is having upon the environment. This is why people are enthusiastic about green marketing initiatives.”

The DMA/fast.MAP Sustainability Tracker Study can be downloaded from the DMA website.
For further information, please contact:

Tristan Garrick
DMA PR manager
Tel : 020 7291 3315 / 07884 338945
Email: tristan.garrick(at)dma(dot)org(dot)uk

David Cole,
Fast.MAP managing director
Tel : 020 7242 0702
Email : David.Cole(at)fastMAP(dot)com

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