Corporate values matter: Consumers are willing to spend more with brands that give back

Good value for money and good quality products are the top priority for consumers when deciding which brands to purchase good from, according to a study launched as part of The Social Change Hub at MediaCom, the UK media agency.

However, the number of people prioritising cost and quality has fallen since 2017. Brand ethics and behaviours are seen as increasingly important by consumers, with the majority stating they will pay more for brands which are seen to have a positive impact on society.

The research shows that consumers now place more importance than they did last year on a brand's promise to give back to the local community, if they ethically source their products and whether they are environmentally sustainable. The research in fact pointed to increased revenue opportunity for brands that exhibit such behaviour. Over two-thirds (67%) of consumers state they would pay more for environmentally-friendly products, even more (68%) for products that do not test on animals and 60 per cent would pay more to brands which give back to the local community.

Sue Unerman, MediaCom's Chief Transformation Officer said: "The findings around environmental issues are particularly interesting. It is a hot topic for consumers at the moment – something that we have started to refer to as the David Attenborough effect. People want companies to clean up their act, especially when it comes to the overuse of plastics and unnecessary packaging of products. Tapping into this is key to differentiating yourself from the competition. At the end of the day, people buy more from brands that align their purpose to the issues that they care about."

And people do want to see brands align with their concerns. 81 per cent of respondents said that brands should be held accountable for their environmental impact, with 88 per cent expecting companies to shoulder the responsibility of tackling plastic waste and pollution. However, the study also found a lack of trust in companies' commitment to environmental sustainability, with 63 per cent of the 2,000 survey respondents believing that brands overstate their green credentials. In order for communications to overcome this scepticism, it is vital for brands to fully commit to any social or environmental behaviours.

Sue Unerman continued: "More businesses than ever before are aligning themselves with a cause to convince consumers that they hold genuine values as a company. However, it is clear that communicating brand purpose is not hitting home in many cases. Worryingly, at the same time more people expect a brand to give back to society, just half of the respondents can name a brand that they associate with good causes, compared to the two thirds of respondents who could do so in last year's research. But brands cannot afford to give up and put purpose in the 'too hard' basket. They need to prove they are investing in causes that resonate with their customers, and that they are committed for the long term."

MediaCom's Social Change Hub is a forum where brands come together to share best practice work and discuss new ideas to connect with consumers.

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