In the wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the social justice movement, consumers are looking for brands that publicly stand for causes that are important to them, a new study finds. The top three issues that consumers want brands to take a stand on are health, the environment and social equality. Analysts say that it marks a shift for businesses, who must now move away from a profit-led to value-led approach in order to remain in the good graces of shoppers.
Results from a study conducted by market consulting firm NEXT Data & Insights shows that consumers are now widely considering companies’ values when it comes to their purchases. In a survey, a majority of shoppers (62%) reported that they are now more likely to buy from brands that have taken a public stand on issues important to them.
The poll also found that 52% of consumers want brands to specifically back social justice and equity issues, while 57% of respondents said that companies need to stand up for environmental and sustainability matters. Amid the coronavirus crisis, it is unsurprising that health topped the list of issues that brands should take a stand on, with 63% of respondents choosing it as the top concern.
Analysts believe that these consumer preferences are likely to last into the long-term. “In a year of uncertainty, one thing is clear – consumers are willing to spend their money with companies that share their values,” the report said.
These results come not only in the middle of the pandemic, but also during widespread global attention on social justice issues such as racial inequality, police brutality and discrimination, sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
In this climate, it has become clear that brands that fail to stand up for issues are likely to be short-lived. Earlier in June, CrossFit’s founder and former CEO Greg Glassman was forced to step down from his role after sparking outrage for a racially insensitive tweet about George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of brands have since cut ties with CrossFit, including Reebok, the sportswear giant owned by Adidas.
“In a year of uncertainty, one thing is clear – consumers are willing to spend their money with companies that share their values”NEXT Data & Insights
Even brands that have long upheld a reputation for being sustainable have fallen out of favour with shoppers due to the lack of demonstrable action in terms of diversity and inclusion. Yael Aflalo, the founder of millennial-friendly Reformation, was also forced to step down from her role as CEO after accusations of deep-running workplace racism embedded in her company.
Meanwhile, value-led companies have thrived. Patagonia, for instance, famed for its green credentials and do-good mission, has revealed that it receives 9,000 applications for every single open internship and full-time position – thanks to its long-standing commitment to both sustainability and social justice, from promoting voter turnout in marginalised communities to donating to key campaigns that are a part of the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement.
What’s clear from this latest piece of research is that it has never been more vital for companies’ strategies to price in principles and purpose and move away from the business-as-usual approach that has for years perpetuated global problems, from the climate to equality.
Lead image courtesy of Freepik.