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Work & Wellbeing Brand Purpose Gen Z

Hey brands, gen Z is looking at your employment practices and anti-racist policies


By Webb Wright | NY reporter

March 23, 2022 | 4 min read

A new study from the American Marketing Association New York finds that the majority of American consumers – and gen Zers in particular – think that brands should be prioritizing fair employment practices and anti-racist policies.


A new report from the AMA-NY sheds light on the values that modern American consumers hold most dear / Adobe Stock

All marketers know that values play an important role in the relationship between brands and consumers. If values between the two are misaligned, the relationship won’t be a happy one. But as culture evolves, so too do the values that consumers hold most dear.

In a new report released today, the American Marketing Association New York (AMA-NY) has highlighted a few key “social purposes” that today’s consumers expect brands to support. The report also underscores some important differences in the expectations of consumers of different generations and ethnicities.

It’s crucial, as the authors of the report note, that brands understand these modern expectations from consumers and adjust their identities and missions accordingly. And it isn’t enough to merely talk the talk – they must also be able to walk the walk. “Consumers are pretty woke, and smart marketers will learn what their consumers think their firms should work on,” says Craig Charney, the study’s lead author. “They also need to react. It’s not enough to boast about serving purposes that interest you – you need to do what your customers want.”

Here are the key takeaways from the new report:

The majority of consumers say that brands should be focused on fair employment practices and anti-racism. 34% of respondents said that employers should prioritize ​​pay equity and fair labor practices, while 26% said that brands should be promoting racial equality. Community engagement, environmental sustainability and standing in support of equal voting rights were also listed by respondents as social purposes that brands should be pursuing.

Gen Z’s values differ from those of older generations in some important respects. The report found that gen Zers (ages 18-25), compared with older consumers, have disproportionately high expectations for brands when it comes to racial equality and environmental sustainability. “They are the only ones rating racial equality as their top priority (mentioned by 35%) and more emphasize sustainability (31%) than in other generations,” the authors of the report note in a statement. “They are also the only ones to include among their top priorities workplace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) (27%), or corporate action on women’s rights (22%).”

People of color are paying particularly close attention to brands’ anti-racist policies. The report found that among its minority respondents, “racial equality is the most important social goal for companies to pursue, cited by 32% of Black people and 34% of Latinos (Among whites it is mentioned by 22%).”

Consumers and marketers both understand that values have a real impact on brands’ bottom lines. According to the report, 68% of consumers across the US “say they are more likely to buy from a company doing well on the social purposes they care about, and 29% are much more likely to buy.” Marketers, for their part, overwhelmingly agree that brands will be more successful if they promote and act upon values that resonate with their consumers.

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Work & Wellbeing Brand Purpose Gen Z

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