Sustainable brands depend on the growing population of conscious consumers as their best customers. But a new study by egg, a Seattle brand development firm that specializes in building sustainable brands, suggests that many brands are not reaching these consumers and therefore are missing out on their true sales potential.

The survey suggests that conscious consumers now represent up to 70 percent of the marketplace and can be partly segmented based on the degrees of hypocrisy between their green attitudes and actual green behavior. The key for brand marketers is to know if their customer walks the walk as well as talks the talk when it comes to green.

The core constituency, the advocates, has grown from 7 percent to 20 percent in three years. This group believes passionately in doing the right thing and aligns their purchases with like-minded brands. But another segment, the skeptics, represent 20 percent of the market, with no hypocrisy whatsoever: they don’t believe in green and purposefully avoid buying green brands.

The marketer’s challenge, says Mike Jaglois, egg brand director says, is to “navigate your brand in a way that captures the largest possible audience without losing the core.”