In a crowded marketplace, consumers are developing ways to choose between the multitudes of brands clamouring for their attention.
While cost and quality are obvious ways of distinguishing between competing companies, a study by UK agency MediaCom seems to point towards social values as being a key factor in consumer choices.
Of the 2,000 UK consumers surveyed as part of the study, 40% have stopped using a brand (or never used it in the first place) because of its values or behaviours. 63% believe that brands have a responsibility to give back to society and 80% highlighting environmental impact as a particular concern.
But today’s consumer is also sceptical. With so much marketing material hurled at them at almost every second of the day, it is perhaps unsurprising that many don’t always trust what brands tell them.
65% of respondents think that brands overstate their environmental credentials, while 45% reported to being ‘very sceptical’ of any brand that claims to support good causes.
“The role and responsibilities of brands is a complex thing. Even those which do have good values or behaviours at their heart face a challenge in convincing the public that they are genuine and can be trusted,” said Pauline Robson, managing partner and hear of real world insight at MediaCom.
“But the fact remains that a brand’s purpose is hugely influential in attracting an audience and, ultimately, a customer base.”
49% of the consumers surveyed said that they would pay more for a brand’s products if it supported a cause that is important to them.
This figure raises to 60% for the 18-24 year olds surveyed. While 35% of the total respondents had bought a product purely based on the values of the brand, this raises to 49% for the 18-24 bracket.
“It’s our belief that we, as a society, are heading towards mass adoption of purpose,” continued 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 for 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.”