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Practical Business Advice Newsletter April 2014  

Here is the April Practical Business Advice Newsletter. Hopefully you'll find the information informative and useful!

Please feel free to pass it on to colleagues and friends.

The Socially Conscious Consumer Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

Article from the BDC

Consumers are increasingly concerned about how their choices impact the environment, their local community and their own well-being. As such, they expect companies to be greener and more ethical, and to provide healthier, more "Canadian" products and services. Find out how your company can capitalize on these emerging consumer trends.

Many Canadians are concerned about how their choices affect the world and their own well-being.

Today, 3 key trends characterize this shift – and offer rich opportunities for entrepreneurs.

  • Environment and Social Concerns
  • The “Made in Canada” Advantage
  • Health Consciousness

Environment and Social Concerns

Some Trends:

  • Half of Canadians are inclined to buy environmentally-friendly products.
  • Nearly one third of consumers are willing to pay a premium for ethically-made products.
  • One third of consumers have researched companies' CSR (corporate social responsibility) policies in the last year.
  • 90% of consumers would stop buying from a company using irresponsible practices.

The Opportunity
Environmental and socially-responsible concerns are now part of many consumers’ buying decisions.

Enhancing and promoting the ethical and ecological aspects of your company can attract customers and build loyalty.

Increase or build environmental and social responsibility throughout your business.

Seek out and form partnerships with responsible suppliers.

Obtain certifications from trusted third-party organizations recognizing your responsible practices.

Tell people about your actions, including in advertising, social media and product packaging.

The “Made in Canada” Advantage

Some Trends:

  • Canadians are proud of products and services made in Canada.
  • Two thirds of Canadians have made an effort to buy Canadian in this past year.
  • 30% of Canadians are willing to pay more for a locally-made product.
  • 97% of those who buy Canadian do so to support the local economy.

The Opportunity
Canadians are buying locally to translate their social concerns into action.

Canada is perceived internationally as “a model country”- associated with open, trustworthy people and safe, high-quality products.

Entrepreneurs can differentiate themselves from multinationals by emphasizing Canadian links.

Source in Canada as much as possible.

Communicate and promote the Canadian/local characteristics of your products.

Emphasize other Canadian/local features of your business, such as R&D, product design, etc.

Highlight your economic impact, such as jobs created, local partners, etc.

Use the “Made in Canada” brand at home and abroad to capitalize on positive perceptions.

Health Consciousness

Some Trends:

  • In 2012, Canadian health and wellness services were worth $735 million.
  • Sportswear sales in Canada reached $5.4 billion in 2012, a 5% increase over 2011.
  • 50% of Canadians consider the health impact of a product before purchasing.
  • 33% of Canadians are willing to pay a premium for healthy products.

The Opportunity
Health awareness is changing how Canadians eat, spend leisure time and purchase products.

Canadians spend an average of $935 per year on health and wellness.

Consumers are actively seeking health and wellness benefits.

Suggested Strategies
Provide new products/services to meet the public’s desire for a healthier lifestyle.

Adapt existing products/services to health-conscious consumers.

Research health benefits of your products/services and use them to differentiate yourself.

Identify “hidden” benefits that can be marketed as health- or wellness-related (e.g.: ergonomics, comfort).

Canadian consumers are increasingly demanding products that are good for the planet, for Canada and for their own bodies.

Entrepreneurs should ask themselves if their business is offering products/services that are ethical/ecological, locally produced and healthy.

It is important to go beyond a “do no harm” mentality to consider how your business can make a difference to your community, Canada and the planet as a whole.

Final Advice
Reorient products, services and business practices in line with the socially-conscious consumer.

Try to back up marketing claims with independent certification. Claims with no backing can generate mistrust.

Make ecological, local and health concerns an integral part of your supply chain, R&D, etc.

Reap the Rewards
By making these key changes to your business, you will help your company to:

  • meet the evolving demands of Canadian consumers;
  • be more focused and innovative;
  • enhance its reputation; and
  • boost employee engagement,  operational efficiency and profits.

Source:  BDC; Link: http://www.bdc.ca/Resources%20Manager/growthchallenges/socially_conscious_consumer.html?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=F14#.U1bI_6p0_rY.email

If you have any particular topics you'd like to hear about in upcoming issues, your feedback would be appreciated.

Best Regards,

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Rose Kasianiuk
Strategic Business Advisor
RK Business Solutions Inc.
Calgary, AB T2T 4S1


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