In a world that is evermore globally connected, consumers are increasingly focused on the transparency of the companies they support. Shoppers are more socially conscious (especially millennials), and they’re wielding that influence with their wallets. They don’t care just about what products a company sells or the services it offers — they also want to know if the business’s values align with their own.
This is a powerful shift in consumer attitudes. Aligned values are increasingly important to consumers when it comes to purchasing products and services from businesses — or refraining from making purchases. A recent Edelman study found that 57 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from or boycott a brand because of where it stands on a social or political issue.
The numbers are significant: the survey found that 60 percent of millennials, 53 percent of Gen Z, and 51 percent of Gen X said that a brand’s beliefs matter when it comes to purchasing decisions.
So, how does your business navigate what can feel like tricky territory? First, and perhaps most importantly, don’t feel pressured to make a political stand. A lot of social issues have policy implications, but you can state your company’s beliefs while staying nonpartisan.
If your brand’s beliefs align with specific consumers, it’s an important opportunity to grow your customer base and build loyalty. According to the survey, 23 percent are willing to pay more for that brand’s products, 48 percent would advocate for and defend the brand, and 51 percent would buy the brand exclusively and more frequently.
Focus on the issues that align with the mission and spirit of your company — whether neighbourhood or global issues — and commit to spreading that message and affecting positive change.
For example, if environmental issues are important to your business, make your stance known on your website and social media channels. Outline what you’re doing to enact sustainable practices and mitigate your own carbon footprint.
Or, maybe your company is a staunch advocate of fair trade practices. If so, post information about your global partners — like photos of workers and personal stories that illustrate how your company’s policies are making a positive impact. Stating your company’s social beliefs is an opportunity to open a dialogue about where your products are produced and who makes them, while also explaining your prices and the true cost of things.
High-earning consumers (66 percent) are more likely to care about a brand’s beliefs, so keep that in mind. Your business doesn’t have to take a public stand on every social issue — and it shouldn’t. Instead, it’s more impactful to speak out on the issues that are most important to you.
Consumers respond to businesses that are authentic and take a stand on the issues they care about, so don’t pass up an opportunity to show customers what sets you apart.