What is Cruelty-Free? Consumer Opinions

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Eleonora Verdinelli
November 1, 2022
Cruelty free logo: PETA

Cruelty-Free Concept

If you are reading the article, you might have to face the topic of cruelty-free on your day-to-day business. I’m going to show you how you can improve your business by only taking into consideration Twitter conversations. Cruelty-free is one of the most discussed topics nowadays, but what does it practically mean?

As sustainable shopping practices and eco-friendly activities have increased, consumers reflect every day on how companies are dealing with this issue and on how animals are used to give them “safety” products. Used on the backside of many products, cruelty-free usually labels products or activities that don’t harm or kill animals. Products being tested on animals are not considered cruelty-free, as they may entail suffering and death of millions of animals.

Consumers are frustrated and upset at seeing plenty of companies that test their products on animals, and they are complaining about the incoherence of companies that sell cruelty-free products made with animal-derived ingredients. By the same token, companies are struggling to find new ways of producing and testing these products, or they are small businesses desperately looking for a place in the Olympus of large cosmetic companies.

While consumers are looking for cruelty-free as well as ethical and vegan products, cruelty-free companies want to improve their image and reputation as well as to create awareness and maximize results by having positive feedbacks of their cruelty-free products and being seen as a trusted brand. How can you achieve these results?

Pivony aims at analyzing a huge amount of information from social networks’ conversations through Social Intelligence in a quickly and economically sustainable way. The outcomes are presented, through graphics, in an easy way for companies that want to make adjustments and change plans depending on what consumers think of the brand and its products.

Since e-WOM is an incredibly useful method to advertise your product and make people believe in your company, there are 3 steps you can follow to be on the winning side of cruelty-free conversations:

  1. Understand what consumers think on cruelty-free
  2. Follow up results from conversations
  3. Take a holistic approach to cruelty free

1. Understand what consumers think on cruelty-free

Conversations on this topic demonstrate that most people associate the term cruelty-free with cosmetics and personal care products, because several invasive tests for these products are performed on rabbits, mice, guinea pigs and rats in order to test hypoallergenic properties and to deem the products safe for humans to use. The sentiment analysis indicates the perception and opinions people have about a brand, a product, a topic. In general, for makeup brands that declare to be cruelty-free, the overall sentiment is neutral: even though there are so many companies that are experimenting new products with natural or lab-created ingredients without testing them on animals, there are so many others that don’t walk the walk. Such analysis can be performed on social networks. Within the cosmetics world, it has been carried out on twitter conversations about lip gloss, liquid eyeliner, eyeshadow, lash extensions. People have a negative opinion of lash extensions’ companies because they falsely claim they sell synthetic products, while they sell mink eyelashes. Talking about personal care, the most engaging conversations are on hair dye, nail polish, bath bomb, skincare.

As shown by the Conversation Board, other focal points of cruelty-free conversations revolve around food: nowadays the number of vegans that want to raise awareness of the terrible treatment to which some animals are subjected is increasing. Consumers seem to be frustrated because they can’t find the right cruelty-free product that expresses their values and with which they can identify. You should try to understand their feelings to reach directly the heart of consumers.

2. Follow up results from conversations

Using this tool and applying the results to the company’s strategy and communication can be a valuable way to really become customer-centric. Following up results is essential for your business to go at the same pace with the consumers’ needs.

Pivony platform gives the possibility to analyze opinions consumers have of cruelty-free as other important contemporary issues that affect every brand image and reputation as well as their revenue. As it can be seen from the collected useful data so far, the intent of twitters about cruelty-free ranges from remark (51%), complaint (22%), suggestion (17%) to praise (10%).
The overall sentiment analysis resulting from the conversations is neutral. In details, the positive sentiment stands at 37%, the negative at about 35%, while the neutral represents the 28%. Within a specific time-based analysis, in April 2021 the topic reached the peak of negative opinions, while the highest positive sentiment was registered in May 2020. Remarks and complaints about this topic should be transformed into positive feedback and long-lasting relationship with your customers.

3. Take a holistic approach to cruelty-free

Even if the term refers to animal testing, the reviews state that we can’t talk about cruelty-free without paying attention to other hidden problems that companies avoid talking about, such as exploitation or environmental issues. A consumer claims that we can’t talk and be proud of a cruelty-free products if behind the production there are exploited children, underpaid employees, or migrants. As Jackie states: “you can’t call your products cruelty-free if they come in plastic containers”. Cruelty-free and environmental issues are intrinsically connected since preserving the Earth is just a consequence of preserving animal species; that’s why consumers want to buy products that are cruelty-free as well as earth-friendly and ethical. In addition, many consumers argues that even though cruelty-free and vegan are two different concepts they can’t be separated.

By taking a holistic approach to cruelty-free, you would be able to consider this aspect globally within your organization and make every single aspect of your business proposition coherent to the entire topic of social justice.

In conclusion, innovative and technological tools like TopicBoard enables companies to have a general overview of consumers’ opinions on the brand, products and issues related to the company without spending a lot of time scrolling through reviews.

Every strategic change within a company starts from a better understanding of the customers’ needs related to that business. On the one hand, companies who are not producing cruelty-free products, or that are making false declarations, should analyze their sentiment and make adjustments to their values, since continuing with such strategy would cause them a loss of customers. Truly cruelty-free production, declarations, and actions would be the first winning moves.

On the other hand, companies who are a step ahead and already produces cruelty-free products might focus their communications on this unique selling proposition, so as to get a positive sentiment analysis and a good WOM around the company. By being customer-centric you will be able to turn to a market share which is only waiting for the right cruelty-free product and be on the winning side of cruelty-free conversations. If you do not want to be overwhelmed by negative comments, try, as you can, to listen to your customers and you will be on the winning side of these conversations.

Do you want to know more than these 3 steps? Start the free trial or book a demo so you can learn more about TopicBoard and Al-Engine technology, which can help your company to improve its results.

Eleonora Verdinelli
Eleonora is a Content Writer at Pivony and has a background in Marketing.

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