Increasingly socially-conscious consumers are abandoning brands they do not feel have positive corporate values or behaviours, a study shows. The research by MediaCom reveals 40 per cent of consumers either stop using or never use a brand because of its corporate values or behaviours, with 63 per cent believing brands have a responsibility to give back to society and 80 per cent stating they must take steps to minimise environmental impact.
The study, launched at the latest MediaCom Social Change Hub event, also shows that there is a lack of trust placed in brands when it comes to their social responsibility, 65 per cent believe brands overstate their environmental credentials and a further 45 per cent admit to being very sceptical of any brands that claim to support good causes.
‘The role and responsibilities of brands in society is a complex thing. Even those which do have good corporate values or behaviours at their heart face a challenge in convincing the public that they are genuine and can be trusted,’ comments Pauline Robson, managing partner and head of Real World Insight, MediaCom’s research arm.
‘But the fact remains that a brand’s purpose is hugely influential in attracting an audience and, ultimately, a customer base.’
Assessing the potential financial impact of brand behaviours, almost half (49 per cent) of the 2000 respondents state that they are willing to pay more for a brand that supports a cause which is important to them. However as a nation it seems we are becoming more and more socially-conscious as this figure rises to 60 per cent in 18-24 year-olds. Similarly, while 35 per cent of all respondents have bought a brand product specifically because of its chosen values or beliefs, this rises to 49 per cent in those aged 18 to 24.
‘It’s our belief that we, as a society, are heading towards mass adoption of purpose,’ adds Robson.
‘Overall, there is an increasing awareness of and focus on what a brand stands for – to the point where many people are willing to buy more and pay more for a company they feel makes a positive impact. What brand can afford to ignore that? Working to make a positive impact on society isn’t a ‘nice to have’, it should be part of a brand’s DNA and a pillar of any communications and interactions with consumers. It can make your brand stand apart from the competition.’
Further reading on corporate values
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