Chicago — Simple messaging can help the polymer industry explain the importance of its products to consumers and turn the tide against growing anti-plastics consumer sentiment.
That's what Jonathan Quinn, market development manager for Nova Chemicals Inc., sure thinks.
"You have to be simple. You don't have to get too complex," Quinn said following a consumer panel Nova hosted in Chicago to gauge the views of today's millennials.
For just about two hours, a group of six millennials sat before dozens of plastics employees and took part in a focus group aimed at providing some insight about how they feel and what they know about plastics and recycling. And plastics recycling.
The group included an administrative assistant, a dentist, an educator, someone who works in logistics, a stay-at-home parent and a restaurant manager. The consumer panel provided a first-hand view to attendees of the Plastics Caps & Closures 2019 conference held in Chicago. The conference was organized by Plastics News, and polyethylene maker Nova organized the workshop.
It was important for conference attendees, representing companies throughout the plastics industry, to hear from a sampling of people they don't normally directly engage, Quinn said.
"It's very important to know the millennial generation's thinking about packaging," the millennial said.
Millennials, by definition, are born from 1981 to 1996, so these aren't kids anymore. They are ages 22 to 37, a group that continues become more and more important to consumer products companies.
"The thing is it's all about very simple messaging," Quinn told the crowd. "Simple messages can very quickly sway perceptions. And if you take it a step further, 'Well, how have perceptions been created?' That puts us in a position where we often feel plastics are under attack. It's been simple messaging. Simple stuff that has resonated with consumers that has created a perception.
"We can very easily change the perception if we find those simple messages that sway the other way," he said.
Panel members, at one point, were asked to categorize different types of packaging: glass, metal, aseptic cartons, plastic bottles and pouches.