Men willing to purchase eco-friendly things if products are ‘masculine’

New York: Men are not open to purchasing environment-friendly products as compared to women. However, they can be persuaded to go green by branding products in a more masculine way, says a study.

Both men and women find green products to be feminine but reframing environmental products in a masculine way might increase the possibility of men endorsing them, the study found.

“Instead of using traditional marketing messages about green products (which are typically perceived as feminine), we changed the messages to be more masculine in nature by changing the phrasing, colours. When we did that, we found that men were more willing to ‘go green’,” said James Wilkie, Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, US.

Shoppers who engaged in green behaviour were found stereotyped by others as more feminine and also saw themselves as more feminine, the researchers said.

Previous research shows that men tend to be more concerned about maintaining a masculine identity than women are with their feminine identity.

“We, therefore, thought that men might be more open to environmental products if we made them feel secure in their masculinity, so that they are less ‘threatened’ by adopting a green product,” Wilkie added.

In a series of seven studies, the team manipulated small details about the products, attempting to change men’s attitudes and behaviours.

They used two approaches — affirming a man’s masculinity before introducing him to environmental products and changing the associations people have toward green products.

One study was conducted in China at a BMW dealership and focused on a model known for being an eco-friendly car.

While surveying shoppers, the researchers simply changed the name of the car from the traditional, environmentally friendly name to “Protection,” which is a masculine term in China.

Despite all other descriptions of the car remaining the same, the name change did increase men’s interest in the car.

In another study, the team compared men’s and women’s willingness to donate to green charities.

They called one “Friends of Nature”, with a bright green logo featuring a tree. The second was named “Fun for Wilderness Rangers” showcasing a wolf howling to the moon.

While women favoured the more traditional green marketing, more men were drawn to the masculine branding over the traditional.

They showed more willingness to buy environment friendly products if their masculinity got a branding boost.

Green products can be successfully marketed by using more masculine fonts and colours in packaging as well as hiring a masculine spokesmen, which will explicitly state that the product is for men only, the researchers suggested.

The study is forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research.