This article is an exploration of our growing affinity for nature and the opportunities this creates for brands.
It’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic affected just about every aspect of human life over the last year and a half. Our relationship to nature is no exception, and many people are realizing that they have a newfound appreciation for natural spaces as we emerge from the pandemic. Keep reading for an exploration of our growing affinity for nature and the opportunities this creates for brands.
Why Nature Is So Important
We’ve always known that nature is important to human functioning. Time in nature lowers blood pressure, reduces the level of stress hormones in our systems, improves immune functioning, increases self-esteem, and reduces anxiety, among other benefits.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people turned to nature to escape the solitude and boredom of home life, connect to a larger purpose, and, ultimately, de-stress. And it worked—studies have shown that increased use of neighborhood natural environments throughout the pandemic is likely to contribute to improved human health and well-being.
Because so many people discovered or rediscovered a love of nature during the pandemic, we may see an uptick in sustainability and environmentalist activism in the coming months and years. More appreciation for nature likely translates to an increased desire to keep it protected.
With that in mind, here’s how businesses can take advantage of the natural shift.
Because so many people discovered or rediscovered a love of nature during the pandemic, we may see an uptick in sustainability and environmentalist activism in the coming months and years.
Consider Business Expansions and Pivots
In thinking about what your business offers to consumers, is there any overlap with nature? If not, can you introduce one? Companies like Getaway that help city-dwellers connect with pockets of nature are booming, and the market for facilitating natural experiences isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.
Use Natural Language and Visuals in Marketing Assets
Next, consider your marketing assets. Is there an opportunity to introduce natural visuals or language into your content? You may have to get creative depending on your industry or product offering, but spend some time thinking about how to bring nature into your social media posts, blog articles, ads, and other assets.
Improve Employee Morale
Lastly, consider what this news means for your own employees. We know that time in nature improves well-being and that it’s more important to people today than it was two years ago. How can you allow your employees to access nature? Do they need increased time off, flexible daily schedules, or other accommodations to provide the time and space to engage with local parks or other natural spaces? As we outlined above, time in nature has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, which is critical for mitigating high workloads and blurred lines between work and home lives.
Double Down on Sustainability Efforts
As communities’ devotion to natural spaces increase, sustainability becomes even more important. The more people engage with nature, the more likely we are to potentially deplete resources or pollute the spaces we’re supposed to be appreciating. If your business doesn’t already have sustainability practices in place, now is the perfect time to figure out how you can contribute to a lasting appreciation for nature. If it does, make time to revisit your existing policies and look for points you can improve or expand on.
While the pandemic forced us to adapt to many difficult challenges, it also renewed our understanding of the role nature plays in well-being. Hopefully, this trend towards appreciating what Mother Nature has to offer is only going to expand in the coming years. Use the tips above to position your brand for that shift and to play an important role in preserving our access to nature long into the future.
- Consider how your business offering (i.e., your products and services) can include more nature-based elements. While you may have to change your business model slightly, it’s a pivot that’s likely to pay off in the long term.
- Use nature in marketing assets and communication materials whenever relevant. Connecting to nature may help with engagement as people seek out environmental content.
- Give your employees the ability to connect to nature in your area. They’ll experience all the benefits we outlined above, and it’s likely to improve morale and productivity.