As ardent followers of consumer trends and behavior, we know that Gen Z loves to snack. But more snacks mean more dishes, and dish care certainly doesn’t appeal to Gen Z, does it?
Interestingly, we noticed that dish care brands are increasingly speaking to Gen Z about the things they care about- transparency, natural goodness, and zero harm to the earth. What communication cues are they employing and is it working?
We studied 25 household cleaning brands in the USA, including 1200+ images, 500 product descriptions, and 16,000 product reviews on the internet. Our Culture AI analyzed visual elements (colors and shapes) and language used to signal their eco-friendly qualities and cleaning efficacy.
What do eco-friendliness and efficacy mean for Gen Z consumers?
Eco-friendliness in the home cleaning space means embracing nature’s goodness and not harming the environment in the cleaning process. This encompasses the house, its inhabitants, and the environment at large. It means that the products and their containers have a low impact on the environment (they are recyclable, refillable, cruelty-free, vegan, and biodegradable). Efficacy refers to the elimination of grime and germs. In this case, it also implies being effective in preserving the natural environment (tied to the natural and sustainable base of cleaning products).
How are brands communicating eco-friendliness & efficacy?
The brands studied position themselves as either powered by nature or by science, using ingredients ranging from the natural to cutting-edge formulae and technology. Eco-friendliness is evoked as natural goodness to be brought into the home… or as a social movement that serves a larger purpose and stands for something greater than the self.
Our AI clustered images based on the similarity of shapes and colors depicted, which helped us identify themes occurring across all 25 brands.
We did an additional qualitative read and identified seven key communication clusters in the eco-cleaning space. We deep-dive into the three most prominent ones: responsible, guilt-free clean (40%), ethical science (16%), and natural cleanser (13%).
Responsible, Guilt-Free Clean
Home cleaning brands that fall in this cluster embody transparency. They proactively disclose information about their production process and ingredients and promise an eco-responsible, guilt-free clean. They believe in no-frills packaging and use solid, monochromatic colors in their branding.
For the brands in this cluster, science is a critical catalyst: it transforms nature into a powerful cleaning agent without harming the earth. The package design is either startlingly minimalist or contains loud labels embodying their stance as revolutionary and passionate activists. They use earthy shades and low-saturation imagery to convey trustworthiness and motivation. Their product stories on social media state their desire to help their own family, before extending their mission to the planet.
For the brands in this cluster, nature is the most potent cleanser. Only the purest ingredients sourced from nature are acceptable. These brands have clean labels (and sometimes clear bottles) in their packaging, with an overlay of nature motifs to communicate their eco-roots. Their advertisements tend to feature cleaning products in action to showcase efficacy.
Which of these communication cues should dish care brands adopt to attract Gen Z consumers?
We just have two recommendations:
Draw more attention to nature-inspired scents.
Include more visuals of natural ingredients related to the scent, and use sensorial language and signposting, such as “scentsational” and “stay grounded” to stimulate consumers’ imagination.
Simple, no-frills packaging.
Use a single color that is distinct but easy on the eye and lowercase text for understated packaging.
Oh, and Gen Z does their dishes more than you think :)
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