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June, 13, 2024  |    |  

Customers, Purpose, and Brand Value

As the world haltingly responds to the climate crisis and to issues of social injustice and exclusion, more and more people are impatient for businesses to play a role in solutions. 

Mike Rowlands
Partner and CEO of Junxion, Mike has spent more than 20 years working to catalyse social responsibility and sustainability.

Long gone are the celebratory, post-war days of cathartic mass consumption, and the pastel, 80s days of imported, throwaway conveniences. Today, 76% of global consumers say they’ll refuse to buy a brand if it’s not an authentic, responsible member of their community. Customers have changed the way they make their decisions to purchase.

Today, your customers want to deal with companies that have integrity and are committed to alleviating societal ills. In short, they’re shopping on purpose.

Customers refuse brands that fail to meet their obligations to society

Consider the enduring case of Dr Bronner’s. Family-owned and run for more than 150 years, the company that has been so closely identified with its iconic everything soap is today seen as one of the world’s leading, social purpose brands. (Their B Score is a stratospheric 206.7!) Their ethos is framed by what they term ‘Constructive Capitalism’

We can only truly prosper if we contribute to the prosperity of all…. We practice it in every aspect of our business—from the products we make, throughout our supply chains, to our dedicated activism and charitable giving, to our relationships with employees, customers and suppliers.

– Dr Bronner’s

The company credits their ongoing success to their ‘Six Cosmic Principles,’ including #2: Do Right By Customers. “First ingredient: love! Lead with heart, take time, give best—serve customers as you would serve mother-daughter-son.”

This commitment continues to inspire the engagement and loyalty of generations of customers—who, by the way, purchased over USD $170 million worth of products in 2023!

Customers Want Brands that Care

The change is being led by Millennials and Generation Z, who are moving into more senior management and leadership positions and are therefore increasingly well-positioned to make purchase decisions both for themselves and their families and in their places of work. Increasingly, they’re choosing companies they see as partners and community builders. But winning companies are in the minority: 77% of brands could disappear overnight, and customers wouldn’t care.

So move now, embracing and embedding purpose, and you’ll find your marketing attracts more customers and engenders more loyalty. Better yet, you may find your customers become your best advocates: 88% of committed customers will defend a purposeful brand from its critics.

Social purpose businesses weave themselves into the fabric of communities, and like any contributing member of community, they benefit from that ethic of care.

Embed purpose to cultivate brand advocates

When times are difficult, loyal customers who believe in a business can help it weather adversity. So smart leaders tend to their customers’ well-being.

Consider Pret A Manger’s decision to offer free hot drinks and discounted snacks to healthcare workers during the COVID pandemic. Or Brewdog’s and 49th Parallel’s pivot to brew hand sanitizer in place of beer during the same time. All those brands will have seen upticks in loyalty because they demonstrated their commitments to community well-being.

As the uptake of purpose continues to shift expectations of the role of business in society, the high expectations most of your customers have about your brand will only get higher. Companies that fail to develop a social purpose will simply fail to survive in this environment.

So what are you waiting for?! To coin a phrase, if the best time to articulate your company’s social purpose was a year ago, the second best time is now!

Give us a call: we can help you find your way into the purpose economy. And we can help you reap the rewards….

Let’s Be Audacious, Together…