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Consumers increasingly socially-conscious

Pauline Robson

Increasingly socially-conscious consumers are abandoning brands they do not feel have positive values or behaviours, a study has shown. The research by MediaCom has revealed 40 percent of consumers have either stopped using or never used a brand because of its values or behaviours, with 63 percent believing brands have a responsibility to give back to society and 80 percent stating they must take steps to minimise environmental impact. Comment from Pauline Robson, Managing Partner and Head of Real World Insight, MediaCom’s research arm.

The study, launched today at the latest MediaCom Social Change Hub event, also showed that there is a lack of trust placed in brands when it comes to their social responsibility with 65 percent believing brands overstate their environmental credentials and a further 45 percent admitting 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 values or behaviours at their heart face a challenge in convincing the public that they are genuine and can be trusted,” commented 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 percent) of the 2000 respondents stated 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 percent in 18-24 year-olds. Similarly, while 35 percent of all respondents have bought a brand product specifically because of its chosen values or beliefs, this rises to 49 percent in those aged 18 to 24. “It’s our belief that we, as a society, are heading towards mass adoption of purpose,” added 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.”

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. Events are run throughout the year with the latest, held today, focussing on “How purpose-led marketing and communications can help brands grow.” For more information about the Social Change Hub and this research, or to learn more about the importance of brand purpose, please visit:

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