With the unstable state of the world over the past few years, consumers have become increasingly disenfranchised with government and big business. Due to inconsistent and sometimes nonsensical policymaking, many have lost faith that leaders across the globe will implement any meaningful change on crucial issues, so they’re taking matters into their own hands to make an impact.
So, what does this mean for businesses and how does it impact consumer behaviour?
Consumers are now, more than ever, making purchase decisions based on company ethics and values. Concerned about climate change? Buy from a company that aims for zero emissions or a low carbon footprint. Worried about animal welfare? Purchase only RSPCA-approved products. Passionate about keeping jobs and money in your state/town? Support local businesses and ‘mum and dad’ stores.
These are the decisions people are now making daily. From small necessities to massive one-off purchases, consumers are now being much more mindful about where their hard-earned dollar is going.
They’re looking for heart-based, ethical businesses who align with, or encapsulate, their core values and are steering away from companies who lack morals and/or contribute to creating or ignoring important issues.
In a world full of deception and uncertainty, people are looking for honesty and integrity. In other words, they’re buying from companies they know they can trust. Not just to provide a good quality product or service, but also to do the ‘right thing’.
Okay, but how do businesses ride that wave and make this shift work in their favour?
The short answer? Identify your brand’s ‘core values’ and market accordingly.
The long answer…it’s time for a deep dive.
For heart-centred businesses with clear ethical goals and values, this is super simple, but if your business doesn’t have an obvious altruistic unique selling point (USP), how do you find one?
The first step is a brand audit. Look at your brand, identify your target market and do some market research into what issues they’re passionate about. Hone in on your ideal customer or avatar, and re-shape your brand to align with their values.
What does that look like?
For example, if your avatar, let’s call her Sheryl, is passionate about the environment, you could switch to biodegradable packaging; use only ethically approved recycled paper; work with a carbon emissions company to reduce your carbon footprint; or allocate a small percentage of sales to one of the ‘plant-a-tree’ charities.
Once you’ve refined (or redefined in some cases), your new company values, it may be time to refresh your branding to appeal to Sheryl. It may be a colour update, a change of imagery, a new logo, or even a complete brand overhaul, but whatever changes you make, they must leverage your USP and support your new marketing strategy.
Most businesses will have a core value or, at the very least, a vision that the owner(s) held when first starting up, the trick is to find it and then market it well.