Consumer behaviour has shifted towards a desire for more conscious consumption People are looking for products and services that go beyond transactions, and have purpose. In fact, according to the SHIFT Report, 73% of consumers say that a higher purpose in life is meaningful to them.

This Purpose Economy, as spotlighted in Aaron Hurst’s latest book, “The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World,” is about more than just profits; it’s also about creating meaningful impact in service of people and the planet. 

Brands will have to innovate and adjust their practices in order to meet this desire. The thought leaders and innovators -including start-ups and accomplished business veterans – have begun to do so.

“Thingful” acts as a search engine for the Internet of Things. The search engine acts to enable people to discuss why and how they are using their devices and data. “Because, the ‘who’, ‘why’ and ‘where’ are ultimately far more important in The Public Internet of Things than the ‘what’.” Thingful’s objective of a search engine with community context, looks to make data more meaningful to people.


In the business to business sector,  Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, no stranger to creating services that authentically connect with consumers, has recently created “The B Team.” The B Team is a not-for-profit initiative formed by a global group of leaders to create a future where the


In today’s ever sustainability-minded society, people are increasingly evaluating the choices they make and how these choices reflect their growing desire for a conscious, connected, thriving life. However, there is undeniably, an attitude-action disconnect.

The SHIFT Report data illustrates this gap, where though consumers want to make sustainable choices, they don’t often follow through, and do so in categories where the barriers to conscious consumption: price, time, knowledge and pressure are lower.

The top three categories people say they have already made sustainable and socially responsible choices are Food (56%), Home Cleaning (53%), and Paper Products (52%).

KIND Healthy Snacks

Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner

Seventh Generation Paper Towels

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer” project found that 72% of consumers surveyed around the world said they are willing to buy green products, but only 17% actually do so.

With WEF’s most recent collaboration with Effie Worldwide in establishing the Positive Change Effie Award, the two have taken a large step in bridging consumers attitude action gap. The award looks to influence marketers to engage in the cultural shift towards motivating change for the better.

The marketing that helps consumers connect attitude to action, and that will ultimately make change, taps into what motivates consumers to make sustainable and socially responsible


The onslaught of digital communities and virtual connections in our lives has left people more connected and disconnected than any other time in history. After a decade of gorging ourselves on friending, liking, tweeting status updates, instagramming meals and snapchatting conversations – sometimes in lieu of connecting with our friends and family offline – what we are craving today is authentic human connection. The SHIFT Report shows that 81% of people listed feeling connected to family, friends and community as a top sustainability issue.

A new wave of messaging is tapping into the growing cultural and consumer desire to be more present and conscious of their lives by literally “looking up.” In Gary Turk’s recent short spoken word film, Turk asks people to spend less time connecting virtually, and more time connecting in the real world.

This film, which has now generated 15,722,683 views on YouTube, addresses the increasing trend in society of social media overload.

Turk voices a common concern that through our increased need to fetter ourselves to an online “community,” we have actually begun to feel more lonely, less attached and disillusioned by our addiction to our mobile devices.

Look Up

Recently, brands have joined the movement as well. UNICEF’s Tap Project challenges people to put their phones aside for a moment in exchange for a clean water donation. The campaign stems from the fact that our generation can no longer go for even a few minutes without checking our

Three years ago, Ci looked at how people who meditated differed from those who did not. We found that those who did, were more empathetic than others and far more likely to be agents of social change.

In 2014, this cultural shift toward mindfulness and the search for spiritual over material contentment has really come into its own with people looking to be to be more aware and conscious of their lifestyle habits.

From literal mindfulness – Headspace and Luminosity – to more holistic, trends such as Arianna Huffington’s third metric of success, “well-being,” we are starting to see people looking to be more aware and redefine this New Variable of conscious consumer choices.

Brands are quickly realizing this top priority care issue and looking to make changes in their products and services. Particularly quick to adapt to this has been the airline industry.

Mindful living is no longer strictly earth bound. In response to nearly a decade of increased anxieties during flights and throughout the flying process, the airline industry sees an opportunity to usher in a new golden age, one that is more mindful of its passengers and of their overall needs of a more conscious, connected lifestyle.


Luvo helps passengers “Be good to themselves,” on board Delta Air Lines  which has introduced a new line of healthy menu items from Luvo now available in the economy

(This article originally appeared on Sustainable Brands)

I live as the sole injection of estrogen in a house full of testosterone with my husband and two young boys, aged nine and six. But suddenly I am swimming in estrogen. Coming off the back of two different client projects both of which involved global brands targeting women — one in beauty and the other in food — I’m awash in gender comparison data on what people care about today and how this aligns — or doesn’t — with their brand interactions, lifestyle choices and purchase decisions.

I’ve just digested John Gerzema’s latest book, The Athena Doctrine: How Women and Men Who Think Like Them Will Rule the Future* and Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, both of which are garnering sales and conversation. There’s a growing buzz about the attitude, engagement and positive impact of women in the marketplace and in society at large. But is the girl effect real?

The answer is yes. My consultancy’s research tool The SHIFT Report™ has recently launched a report called The New Variablesthat reveals a significant difference in how women and men rate CSR and sustainable life issues. Women are driving The New Variables that are defining success and driving lifestyle choices, purchase decisions and brand relationships — integrity, authenticity, community, connection, consciousness, social responsibility or, as The Athena Doctrine describes, the characteristics and traits that are typically identified as feminine.

After surveying 64,000 people

By Kierstin De West (This blog originally appeared on Sustainable Brands)

The topic of happiness is exploding, with growing conversations locally and globally on happiness as a goal, a brand-positioning opportunity, and a metric of success in marketing, political and cultural arenas over the past two years. Brand and marketing leaders are obviously paying attention as there’s been a steady increase in brands’ positioning around, and promises to deliver, happiness to their consumers and the culture in which their business operates.

“Happiness” is an important and potentially game-changing opportunity in which brand and marketing leadership can — and should — engage, strategize and execute, but there are several key steps to ensure any human and financial marketing resources invested show a return.

Instead of brand and marketing executives jumping on the happiness bandwagon due to its current popularity, we need to understand what customer experiences and concerns lead to happiness while looking at quantified metrics that reveal where this insight authentically aligns with the brand and brand experience. The movement around happiness is not a trend and shouldn’t be viewed as such. It is instead an indicator of the cultural shift to sustainability andThe New Variables™ that characterize this shift. The New Variables guiding people’s lifestyle choices, brand relationships and purchase decisions are: authenticity, integrity, community, connection, consciousness and social responsibility.

What do happier people care about?

The people who are happier with their lives overall care most about sustainability and CSR issues than those who do not, according to The SHIFT Report’s 2012-2013

As Ci approaches its tenth year in business, we are thrilled to launch our new site.

We’ve been tracking and monitoring the cultural shift to sustainability for nearly a decade and in celebration of our birthday we are happy to launch a new SHIFT Report Featured Insights section where you can download free research and insights.

Visit our home page to access these free reports. The first one to launch is Consumers and Local.

My new column for Greenbiz which will feature exclusive SHIFT Report data, launched this week with cool infographics on political affiliation and sustainability. Here is the article:

I was recently at lunch with two friends, one of whom brought her husband. After the couple departed, I found myself apologizing to my other friend for the husband’s rude behavior, the mildest part of which included leering gestures at the waitress and comments that don’t need to be repeated.

“Don’t worry about it,” he responded. “I always try to focus on the points of alignment with someone. There’s always something. And once I found them, it was an interesting conversation where we were both engaged.”

Alignment is crucial.

As businesses seek to define and tell their sustainability story in the landscape of shifting consumer values — which they must do in order to be culturally relevant — there has been significant focus on environmental issues where there is less likely to be alignment and which aren’t necessarily the most important to some people.

Sustainability (a word so overused, misused and abused that I’ve started calling it the S-Word) is about the issues that lie underneath it. These are a collection of issues that include but go beyond green and include personal, social and spiritual sustainability issues.

This was uncovered both qualitatively and quantitatively in our market intelligence tool,

Inspired by The Visual Miscellaneum’s Left vs. Right Political Spectrum, we thought we’d take a dive into The SHIFT Report and see the impact of political affiliation on connection with sustainability issues and motivation. It is interesting to look at the issues where the parties diverge (environmental), where the more right wing views push ahead (spiritual) and where they are quite close together (social + personal).

The SHIFT Report: Impact of Political Affiliation (USA) on Connection with Sustainability Issues and Motivation (n=5000 general population) The SHIFT Report: Impact of Political Affiliation (USA) on  Connection with Sustainability Issues and Motivation (n=5000 general population)

The SHIFT Report: Impact of Political Affiliation (Canada) on Connection with Sustainability Issues and Motivation (n=5000 general population) The SHIFT Report: Impact of Political Affiliation (Canada) on  Connection with Sustainability Issues and Motivation (n=5000 general population)

Design for durability, or heirloom design as it is sometimes called, is gaining traction is the world of industrial design, slowly but surely. It is a noble sustainable design strategy and it always makes me think of the lyrics to Buck 65’s song Craftsmenship.

It ain’t about the dollar or trying to go fast
Unless you take pride in what you’re doing, it won’t last
Craftsmanship is a quality that some lack
You got to give people a reason for them to come back

The world’s a different place than what I was introduced to
They don’t wear shineable shoes like they used to
Casual clothes in the office, what is this
The villain in sneakers is killing my business.

There have been a few products / projects that have come across my radar recently which fall into this arena though at different access points – Yves Behar’s Aesir cellphone ($8500), Samual Davies’ Repairware (concept) and recently my good friend purchased a new pair of beautiful 1000 mile Wolverine boots ($400).

Almost always buying the product that was built to last will be an upfront investment, requiring long term thinking over instant gratification. This is not always easy. In fact it’s almost never easy! But as we see in The SHIFT Report research, products that are designed to last rank highest among product design characteristics. Of the 60% of North Americans who say product design and lifecycle is an important sustainability sign post, 82% rank durability as important over