The way consumers feel about a brand in terms of trust, authenticity, and social responsibility, is having a growing impact on their purchase decisions. A new report [pdf] from Ipsos has found that while 73% of consumers are more likely to trust a brand they know, a similar proportion (70%) think that branding is an excuse to make money.
Companies are therefore faced with the task of developing a strong brand identity while also assuring consumers of their authenticity and commitment to social responsibility.
Consumers have high expectations of brands and expect them to rise to the challenge: almost 8 in 10 (78%) think it is possible for a brand to support a good cause and make money at the same time. Indeed, consumers themselves are willing to rethink their spending habits for a good cause, with 59% of respondents agreeing that they would spend more on products from brands that act responsibly. It’s been found that consumers are loyal to purpose-driven companies, with 89% considering corporate social responsibility a key measure of purpose.
That being said, there is evidence to suggest consumers don’t always translate their opinions into actions. Data from Ipsos’ survey suggests that when specific indicators of a brand’s good intentions are off the table, consumers are less willing to change their habits. When asked if they were generally willing to spend extra for a brand with an appealing image, 45% agreed and 48% disagreed.
Consumers are drawn to brands that are appealing in authentic and purposeful ways, but beyond this the key factors in a purchase decision remain a product’s quality, price, and reviews. Time and again it has been seen that good quality is what makes consumers trust brands and that fair pricing and customer reviews encourage brand loyalty.
As such, the research suggests that companies should embrace the changing concerns of their customers by developing brands that are authentic and socially conscious and using these efforts to complement the fundamentals that lead consumers to buy and buy again.
Read the full report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a June-July survey of 22,614 adults aged 16-74 across 33 countries.