Nearly 60% of consumers will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its stance on a social or political issue, according to Edelman’s Earned Brand study, with 30% stating that they make purchases based on their beliefs more than they did three years ago.
The study, which surveyed 14,000 people worldwide from countries including Brazil, China, France, India, Japan, the US and the UK, shines a light on the fact that consumers - particularly millennials - are increasingly expecting brands to stand for something.
According to the study, 50% of consumers identify as “belief-driven buyers,” with 67% of them stating that they’ve bought a brand for the first time because they agreed with its position on a controversial topic. These buyers are also willing to dish out more cash for brands they feel aligned with: 23% stated that they will pay more for a brand if they agree with its stance on a particular issue, while 51% said that they will buy that brand exclusively and more often.
The study also found that buyers who are driven by their beliefs are most active in developing countries like China and India, while they make up about half of consumers in markets such as France and the US.
“In a time of immense turmoil—fueled by a growing lack of trust in our institutions, intense ideological differences, and widening economic gaps—people are turning to brands as islands of stability,” said Richard Edelman, president and chief executive of Edelman, in a statement. “Consumers expect brands to lead the movement for change and address critical problems.”
Survey respondents cited immigration, gender equality, the environment, economic policy and racial & ethnic divisions as the issues they care about most, with 70% stating that they expect brands to commit money to the issues they care about.
“Brands that fail to answer the call of belief-driven consumers risk ending up in No Brand’s Land,” said Mark Renshaw, global chair of brand at Edelman, in a statement. “To win with these valuable customers, brands must must fundamentally rethink their strategies and move beyond simply co-opting culture or stating their position to finding a true calling and acting on it.
The survey’s findings will be presented during Cannes this week.