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Brand ethics and purpose are key buying motivations for today’s consumers

In this article, I am going to address some of the very latest research into the drivers of consumer behaviour and attitudes. I'll look at how ethnographic research can be used more effectively to unearth the true value that your brand, products and services really offer people (users/consumers).

Modern consumers

Many of today’s younger consumers are highly educated, career-driven, politically progressive and, despite popular belief, develop strong brand loyalty when presented with quality products. They are actively engaged by brands.

Research conducted by EY recently, flagged that 68% of UK consumers rating ethics as an important factor when buying, yet only 17% spend more than half of their budget on ethically sourced products. Clearly, the opportunity for brands to capitalise on this is big and getting bigger by the day.

Humanising Brands - Discovering what consumers really think

What these numbers tell us is that while the intention is there, the actual behaviour is telling a different story. Us humans are poor witness to our own behaviour, so taking a more ethnographic or observational approach to the research would enable the brands to hone in on the drivers of behaviour.

As people focus in on the purpose and ethics of brands, they need to know how much they can trust them in order to decide which we give our attention to, as well as those to spend their hard-earned money with. To establish and commit to these characteristics, brands need to behave more like humans themselves. They need to be more open and transparent, and target not only on financial profit alone.

Last week I gave a short presentation about how to humanise brands. I looked at how purpose can be defined as the long-term commitment a brand or organisation takes to positively impact the future we live in - be it the environment in which we live, society and the culture we surround ourselves with, or the working environment.  At a time when as many as *81% of consumers rate the behaviour and culture of a company as important at the actual products they sell, it’s clear that a total culture shift towards being more human inside and out is called for. To quote Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard "You do the right thing, it leads to more business."

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*EY Report: If brand+trust = value, how are you solving the equation?


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