#customers #care #brands #integrity

Brand identity and integrity.

Image credit: Adobe Stock / patpitchaya.

A few decades ago, it might have been difficult to find a food company championing social issues like diversity and equal representation — but today, that’s commonplace.

Ethical purpose, or the drive to do what is morally right, has taken center stage. Many brands are getting increasingly vocal about taking a stance on social, ethical, or political issues, and are proudly advocating their honesty as a critical component of their business.

In this article

  • Getting to the heart of it
  • The verdict on purpose
  • Weighing in on honesty
  • Honesty first

Of course, there are some organizations that talk the talk — but don’t walk the walk. For some, touting integrity amounts to nothing more than a performative act — a box to check off to appeal to the public.

But then there are companies that do act — those making genuine contributions towards an ethical cause, or those whose services or products revolve around an ethical purpose (like fair-trade or zero-waste) and are creating a positive impact.

Getting to the heart of it

It’s fair to say that consumer expectations play a large part in the proliferation of brand integrity. But we were curious: does it really matter to consumers?

We wanted to find out where consumers are at. Do they really care what a brand stands for? Does it change anything for them if a brand is honest or not?

So, we partnered with thought leadership agency Grist to survey 15,000 consumers from across the U.K., U.S., Australia, Sweden, France, Germany, and Italy.

The verdict on purpose

So, when a brand stands for something, does it make an impact on consumer behavior?

The short answer is: yes.

47 percent of surveyed consumers considered a brand’s purpose important, while 31 percent considered it unimportant. (The remaining respondents considered it neither important nor unimportant.)

In other words, a brand’s stance is important to 50 percent more consumers than those who say it’s unimportant.

For years, it has been said that purpose should be the fifth ‘P’ to sit alongside Product (or service), Price (what consumers pay), Place (where the product or service is advertised) and Promotion (how the product or service is advertised) as one of the key pillars of marketing.

Weighing in on honesty

In this survey, we defined an “honest brand” as one that not only backs up its rhetoric with action, but is transparent about doing so.

As it turns out, honesty matters immensely.

Nearly 94 percent of respondents that considered purpose important also considered honesty important — with 40 percent of those saying it’s very important, and an additional 28 percent deeming it as extremely important.

In terms of actual purchasing factors, our survey showed that the top three traits that influence whether consumers would buy from a company are:

  1. “Is honest and transparent about their activities and the impact they have on the planet and society”
  2. “Provides an excellent product or service
  3. “Treats their employees (and the world around them) with respect”

For a significant amount of customers, a brand’s honesty matters more to them than the quality of its service or product.

Honesty first

Today’s brands cannot afford to be dishonest. Consumers have more choices and higher expectations than ever. If a brand is exposed as being dishonest, competitors are a click away, and the internet remembers. Reputational damage doesn’t wash away easily.

This survey data shows that brands should incorporate purpose into their overall strategy — and go a step further — they’ve got to mean it.

Purpose can’t be just a box to check. And proving that it isn’t just performative involves building trust (which is part of why we are always shouting about it).

Read the full report on brand integrity.



ahmedaljanahy Creative Designer @al.janahy Founder of @inkhost I hope to stay passionate in what I doing

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