Corporate Responsibility is the new Black- Mission as Marketing

Written by: Elia Sherman

Actions speak louder than words when it comes to creating brand loyalty. The actions of the company should reflect the values of the company. When a brand is not aligned with those values there is a disconnect that can translate into a lack of brand sincerity.  Often, the reason we stay loyal to a brand is because of their values and how they align with our own.

The best brands combine physical, emotional, and logical elements to create an experience for the consumer. Patagonia asked customers to “reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace.” For their 2011 Black Friday campaign, Patagonia controversially told their consumers to not buy one of their most popular jackets in a full-page ad in the New York Times. “Something has to give,” explained Jill Dumain, Patagonia’s director of environmental strategy, “Something has to fundamentally shift in the consumption world that reduces the pressure on the raw materials, which reduces pressure on the planet and reduces the pressure on the people who make all this stuff all over the world.” Patagonia seamlessly aligned with their mission and sales increased after this campaign.

Annie’s, who promises organic products and has donated 2.6 million dollars in the last 6 years to school gardens, and Ikea, who partners with Save the Children and UNICEF to bring transparency for child labor practices in Southeast Asia, have similar philosophies. These companies encapsulated their promise into their brand because they realized that consumers are not just looking for an aesthetically pleasing package or deal, but rather a mission or cause.

Market research is showing that this is not just a trend but a shift in the way people are buying products.

In fact, it was found that:

  • 76% of Americans would refuse to purchase a product if they found out a company supported an issue that does not align with their beliefs.
  • 50% of global consumers said they would be willing to reward companies that give back to society by paying more for their goods and services.
  • 76% of young people said they have purchased (53%) or would consider purchasing (23%) a brand/product to show support for the issues the company supported.
  • 67% of young people that have stopped purchasing (40%) or would consider stopping purchases (27%) if the company stood for something or behaved in a way that didn’t align to their values

Overall this shift is becoming a way in which some companies are getting an edge in the marketplace. Alignment with a cause can distinguish your brand, but also create a little #MooreKind in the world.