027: Understanding the new rules of engagement for consumers in the age of conscious consumption with Kierstin De West


In this episode I chat with Kierstin De West – a leading authority on forecasting, tracking and understanding the monumental global cultural shift to sustainability and social impact in its broadest sense: the underlying trends that drive and characterize it, the influencers within in, the opportunities it presents and its impact on business, society, brands and culture. She is the founder and CEO of research and strategy consultancy Ci: conscientious innovation and the creator of its proprietary insights and data tool, The SHIFT Report.

In this episode we discuss:

Our desire for conscious consumption and how brands can respond

What are catalyst brands?

How do you price for ethics?

What is Sustainable Life Paralysis?

The rise of the empathy movement and the Mindful consumer.

1:26 – Background on Kierstin and her work; the idea of conscious consumption and how that will affect buying patterns.

4:40 – Using Sears as an example of a company feeling pressure to address the different decisions of consumers and Kierstin’s work in pointing out opportunities to innovate and stay culturally relevant.

6:06 – Background on the research Kierstin has done and her experiences in this field; addressing the UN about this being the direction of successful companies.

8:49 – Launching her company before social media and how the changes in the world have affected her work as a research company.

10:52 – Where the early support for Kierstin’s work came from and how much focus is on this work worldwide.

14:01 – Addressing the tensions between consumers wanting to purchase conscientiously and issues of price.

17:16 – Kierstin’s advice for small companies wanting to take these opportunities to innovate and be culturally relevant.

20:38 – How important is it to keep these values in mind when creating a new product and can we quantify it?

22:09 – The values of a business are crucial in building the business and recruiting people as well as in building a customer base.

23:30 – The breadth of businesses that this applies to.

24:19 – The possibility of a tipping point where business who lack these values are left behind; looking at this as both an opportunity for innovation as well as risk mitigation.

25:53 – Advice for companies looking to choose an agency to aid in this transition and the importance of research based guidance.

28:08 – The relevance and possibilities available for conscious capitalism and things like B Corporation certifications.

33:08 – B Corp certification as a good way for smaller organizations to build their credibility and resource pool; the value for companies across the board.

35:30 – Rapid fire questions for Kierstin.

Resources and Links Mentioned:

B Corporation information