Sustainability – A Tool to Shape Your Messaging

Consumer Behavior People Sustainability

My research revealed three identities (how we perceive ourselves, others, and organizations) and discussed four personal sustainability orientations (prioritizing ourselves, others, the planet, and having fun). 

These identities and personal sustainability orientations play a significant role in encouraging sustainable actions. I discuss these three identities and four individual orientations below.  

3 Ps of Identity

I discovered the “3 Ps of Identity” and how we can tailor messages depending on the type of identity in question. I found three main types of identity, personal, people, and place identities, that are essential for encouraging sustainable actions.  

Personal (me) identity:

This is about how I see myself personally, for example, I can see myself personally as an environmentalist or a colleague. To encourage sustainability using messages, like an advertising campaign, focus on writing ‘I’ and ‘you’ type statements. For example, to encourage cycling to work using messages via an advertising campaign, you could craft a message like this: 

‘When going to work, please think about your role personally in protecting the planet – Positively imagine yourself cycling and how that contributes positively to making a planetary change.’

 

People (we) identity:

This is about how I see myself as part of a group; for example, I can see myself as part of a group of environmentalists or colleagues. To encourage sustainability using messages, like an advertising campaign, focus on writing ‘we’ and ‘us’ type statements. For example, to encourage cycling to work using messages via an advertising campaign, you could craft a message like this: 

‘When going to work, please think about your role as part of a group in protecting the planet – Positively imagine yourself cycling with other people and how that contributes positively to making a planetary change.’

 

Place (business) identity:

This is about how I see myself as part of a business, for example, I can see myself as part of a business or affiliated with a large corporation like Procter and Gamble. To encourage sustainability using messages, like an advertising campaign, focus on writing ‘we as a business’ and ‘us as Procter and Gamble’ type statements. For example, to encourage cycling to work using messages via an advertising campaign, you could craft a message like this: 

‘When going to work, please think about your role as part of Procter and Gamble in protecting the planet – Positively imagine yourself cycling to support your business and how that contributes positively to making a planetary change.’

4 Personal Sustainability Orientations

There are “4 Personal Sustainability Orientations” that everyone has a mix of. The four orientations and an explanation are below.

Personal Sustainability Orientation

Altruistic (helping people)

This orientation means a person values helping others. People base their decision on whether this helps others. Consumers will behave morally/pro-environmentally or not depending on whether this will help people. Thus, people consume sustainable products because they are perceived as less harmful

Biospheric (helping the planet)

This orientation means a person values the planet/biosphere. People mainly base their [purchase] decision on whether this helps the planet. Consumers with this orientation will behave morally/pro-environmentally or not, depending on whether this will help the earth. Thus, people consume sustainable products because they are perceived as less harmful to the planet

Egoistic (helping oneself)

This orientation means a person values. People mainly base their [purchase] decision on whether this helps themselves. Consumers with this orientation will behave morally/pro-environmentally or not, depending on whether this will help them. Thus, people consume sustainable products because they are perceived as less harmful to themselves.  

Hedonic (having fun)

This orientation means a person values having fun. People mainly base their [purchase] decision on whether this is fun. Consumers with this orientation will behave morally/pro-environmentally or not, depending on whether this is fun. Thus, people consume sustainable products because they perceive this to be fun

To further understand yourself, others in your team, and your organization and to become more sustainable ecologically and financially, people within your business can undertake a “3 Ps of Identity” and a “Personal Sustainability Orientation” assessment. 

Further reference on: How do I see myself? A systematic review of identities in pro-environmental behavior research

Alina Udall
Latest posts by Alina Udall (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe

The best original and curated insights to help your organization achieve good sustainable growth, delivered weekly to your inbox.

By subscribing, you agree with Good Growth Academy's Terms and Privacy Policy.

home-icon-silhouette remove-button twitter-social-logotype instagram youtube twitter facebook twitter linkedin plus