Purpose-driven marketing is more than a strategy—it’s a necessity, according to new data from Accenture Strategy. Aligning a brand with popular sentiment isn’t enough, however—meaningful relationships must be created by shifting the conversation from “me” to “we.”
Accenture Strategy surveyed nearly 30,000 consumers in 35 countries between August 1 and October 16 as part of its 14th annual Global Consumer Pulse Research. Purpose-related findings were published in a study called “To Affinity and Beyond: From Me to We, The Rise of the Purpose-Led Brand.”
Just as people want to associate with like-minded individuals, consumers are largely drawn to brands that meet the same criteria. Conversely, consumers have turned away from brands they deem to be in opposition to issues they personally care about.
The survey found that 62 percent of customers want companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues such as sustainability, transparency and fair employment practices. Unsurprisingly, just over half of consumers (53 percent) will complain when they are disappointed in a brand’s words or actions. The difference, Accenture noted, is that 47 percent walk away in frustration and 17 percent will never come back.
There is a common belief among consumers (two out of three surveyed) that, through their own actions, they have a direct impact on a brand’s reaction to an event through their actions. This could range from posting comments on social media to participating in boycotts.
While disagreements on a topic can turn consumers away, respondents also shared what attracts them to buy from certain brands over others. Transparency and brand culture were the top reasons at 66 percent each, followed by companies that treat its employees well (65 percent).
A commitment to reducing plastics and improving the environment is important to 62 percent of respondents, as are ethical values and being passionate about the products and services it sells.
Accenture advises brands to build meaningful relationships that shift customer dialogue from “give ME what I want” to “support the ideals WE believe in.” Much like dating, long-lasting relationships formed with brands are grounded in a common purpose. Authentic relationships based on an affinity to brands that do more than just make money, they conclude.