There’s no denial, the craziness of global events over the last few years have pushed for shifts in behaviours and attitudes, with consumers putting more focus on seeking meaningful experiences and connecting with brands that support shared social values.

According to an Amazon survey (and boy, do they know their stuff), 87% of UK consumers felt that brands should do their part in helping make changes for social good. 

The survey looked at the social values that are shaping consumers’ world views, and their consequent effect on brand preference. Surprise, surprise, the survey concluded that when brands put their values and convictions at the heart of what they do, it can help generate greater impact.

That pesky Amazon research also discovered that 8 in 10 folks agree that they desire real-life experiences, slowness, and authentic human connections rather than the digitally-based lifestyles that new technologies are creating. If you’re nothing like me, then you enjoy the post-pandemic wave of human connection after periods of social distancing from friends, family, and colleagues, as a member of that 8 person band.

78% of people further stated that they have recently modified their way of life to focus on what’s important.

With this need for human-centric experiences and connection, brands need to engage audiences on their terms through experiences that speak to them both offline (in-person), and in the digital spaces they inhabit.

Social Responsibility

Now, your brand has an opportunity to build greater trust with your customers when you are crystal clear about what you stand for and the values you and your brand represent. Not to harp on too much about that Amazon survey, but two-thirds of consumers stated they are more prepared to buy from a brand that is willing to take a stand on social issues. Are you that brand?

In the doomsday world that we live in, consumers expect brands to share a responsibility for climate change, social and societal contributions, and responsible business practices. It is clear, customers have high expectations of how brands should do their part in helping the world.

Look, Here’s an Example

While we, as the public, have a general distrust of large corporations for ‘greenwashing’ and overall shady behaviour at times, large businesses are slowly turning the tide (though some are still pathetically sluggish).

To prove my point a little bit, I’m literally looking in my backyard for an example - Coles. I often shop at this giant supermarket chain out of convenience, while simultaneously complaining about their practices at the same time.

It’s almost like they are listening. In early 2022, Coles has launched a new sustainability strategy built around the theme of ‘Together to Zero’, including targets to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a commitment to 100 per cent renewable electricity and the ambition to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions. 

'Together to Zero' also involves a long-term aspiration towards zero waste and zero hunger, with Coles looking for ways to help Australians in need.

It includes initiatives, such as no longer selling single-use plastic tableware products including cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery from mid-2021, and undertaking a joint feasibility study on the benefits of a local advanced recycling industry in Victoria, the first steps into a circular economy for soft plastic packaging. Pretty ambitious, huh? 

While this does not iron out all of my issues with them, I do feel a bit easier when dashing through the automatic doors for some last minute dinner items.

What your brand can do

Firstly, meet your customers on their terms. We live in an increasingly dynamic world, where consumers are empowered with more information than ever before. They expect more from brands and want to engage with them in meaningful and authentic ways. You need to connect with your tribe with relevant experiences, at the right time and with the right message.

Secondly, understand the importance of corporate social responsibility, and what it means to your brand. Values have the power to build your brand loyalty and connection, as your consumers will more readily engage. For you and your brand, this means visibly demonstrating a commitment to social issues.

Choose your cause carefully, with a vision, and build a measurable strategy with long-term goals. Have your customers’ best interest at heart, and they will sing praises of you.

Have you ever fallen in love with a brand for their shared values? Let us know in the comments.

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