IBM’s Research Insights group just came out with a new report entitled, “Consumers want it all: Hybrid shopping, sustainability, and purpose-driven brands.” It highlights where consumers are at today, some of the ways they have adapted through the pandemic, and their resilience. It also captures how consumers are looking differently at brands today. We’ve been preaching about the importance of well-defined core values and mission for a while. Here are some important takeaways from IBM’s research that back that up…
“Purpose-driven consumers, who choose products and brands based on how well they align to their values, represent the largest segment (44%) of consumers.” Let’s cut to the chase. Consumers used to be driven by value, as in, how much convenience does your product or service provide, and what am I getting in return for the dollars I am spending? Today, values drive more than value, and almost half of all consumers are making their buying choices based on a brand’s values and mission. To that end, customers are willing to change their purchasing habits and the brands they buy based on your values. Now, more than ever, getting clear on what you stand for and communicating it well is essential.
“58% of purpose-driven consumers have recently introduced friends and family to a new brand or retailer.” When consumers find a brand they love, with values that align with their own, they talk about it. Referrals from family and friends are still the best kind of lead we can create for our brands, and today, our purpose is one of the things driving those conversations. Consumers want to feel good about the brands they’re connected to, and when they do, they share it with their circles.
“These consumers want to understand what they’re buying, why their purchase will make a difference, and how the product fits into a company’s larger sustainability strategy.” As a result, storytelling has taken over the top position on the marketing platform. Consumers want to find reasons to connect with brands, and how we tell our stories creates that connection. We need to communicate who we are, what we do, and why they should care with our customers. That “why they should care” part is more and more connected to our values and purpose than ever before, and we need to integrate what we stand for into our stories.
“Purpose-driven consumers expect brands to be clear, honest, credible, and open with their information. They will spend time investigating brands, businesses, and products.” We have entered the “no B.S.” zone. Consumers today will not just take what you say at face value. Instead, they are doing their research to ensure your “authenticity” is genuine. This doesn’t apply to only brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and SpaceX. Today, if you’re running an agency, an accounting agency, or an auto shop, customers are curious about the purpose behind your brand. Let them in on what drives you, and you will create connections.
“Retailers and brands must lean into the purpose-driven consumer, aligning every aspect of their brand with consumers’ values. This means creating propositions that go beyond price, selection, and convenience.” As we shared above, value used to drive sales. Today, values drive connections, and connections drive sales. As growth in the purpose-driven consumers’ segment continues, brands need to use their marketing activities to create alignment with those customers and show them where that alignment exists. By showcasing the alignment of your values to values that your customer brings to the table, you immediately increase the odds of partnering together.
It’s time to double down on your brand’s purpose and values, and go all-in on communicating those to your customers. Today’s customer wants to hear from you, so get bold and let them know what you stand for.
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