How to be a responsible brand – 5 insights from Project Superbrand

Gone are the times when people bought products without caring who or what was behind the brand. Today, consumers’ expectations of companies and brands go beyond just producing goods and making a profit. Failing to acknowledge this can be the end of a brand as a majority of consumers avoid buying products that have a negative social or environmental impact.

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In the 2016 study Project Superbrand Havas Worldwide looks at how the movement toward corporate social responsibility has evolved over the past eight years. What do consumers expect from brands when it comes to corporate social responsibility? How does this affect their purchase decisions? And what do brands need to do to become a responsible Superbrand?

We share five insights from the study in which 10,131 consumers from 28 countries (including the UK) took part.

1. Conscious consumption

The way we consume is changing. While we used to fill up our wardrobes, cupboards and garages in the post-war boom, consumers no longer get the same satisfaction from mindless consumption. Price is still important, but a sustainable value is even more essential when choosing products or services.

2. Transparency is no longer optional

70% of people actively seek out information about the company from which they purchase a service or product, now apps and other tools make it easier than ever for consumers to determine which companies and brands have been acting “good” or “bad”. Companies and brands failing to meet consumers’ expectations of a responsible behaviour will pay the price with loss of revenue.

3. Invaluable values

Brands should clearly communicate their brand values. Consumers want brands that stand for something and make their purchase decisions based on those values. A majority of the consumers surveyed said they prefer to buy from companies that share their personal values.

"Consumers want brands that stand for something – Ben & Jerry’s and Dove are examples. What we find is [that these brands] grow twice as fast as those who don’t have sustainability at heart… That’s where the juice is, the pockets of growth… Consumers want brands to be more responsible." – Jan Zijderveld, President, Unilever Europe

4. Brand heroes wanted

Consumers believe that businesses are just as responsible as governments when it comes to driving positive social change. 62% of the respondents want their favourite brands to play an active role in solving social problems and are convinced that sociopolitical change requires cooperation from big businesses.

5. Consumers say: Together is better

People want to see governments, corporations, NGOs and citizens working together to tackle the world’s problems that no one can solve alone. 8 in 10 of the influential Prosumers* want to see corporations working with governments and businesses working with consumers to make the world a better place.

Prosumers are proactive and informed men and women who are today’s leading influencers and market drivers. They embrace emerging technologies and social media, and influence the brand choices and behaviours of others. Simply put, what Prosumers are doing today, mainstream consumers are likely to be doing six to 18 months from now. – Havas Worldwide definition*

Read more: Click here for the full Project Superbrand report.

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