When it comes to markets, one thing is unmistakably clear: consumers’ behavior has changed! With information being just a Google search away, our audiences are becoming more conscious of the world that surrounds us. In the era of information overflow, consumers can easily compare businesses and not only by the products and services they offer. The criteria for choosing the right product or service has changed. Nowadays, consumers want to know more about the companies’ motives, way of conducting business, the higher purpose they bring and care about the environment. To put it simply, the new generations of consumers are environmentally and socially conscious. And they demand the same from companies around the world. So, with all the changes in the consumer behaviour we’ve witnessed last year, what is one marketing trend we should follow in 2021?
The Generation That Wants YOU to Care
Although the world collectively becomes more socially aware each year, this time – it has surpassed the individual level. Corporations and businesses are now in the full public glare, as consumers are seeking to identify with the brand on a deeper level. The product or the service itself were once enough to make or break the purchase. Now, the consumers want the brands they choose to advocate for things that matter to them.
One example of this could be the byproduct of starting a very important conversation during the previous year: the Black Lives Matter Movement. Marketing data shows that global internet search for Black-owned businesses surged in the mid-August of 2020 after the movement was put into the spotlight. It sends a powerful message that people are looking to drive change, not just through political campaigns – but also through the decisions they make as consumers.
Shopping mindfully has also soared. And as consumers make more informed decisions to invest in brands they feel represent them the best, they hold the power in their hands. If the brand does not align with their values, they will simply swap it with another one that meets their expectations!
Companies are expected to have their own personalities. Just like humans, companies express their opinion, stand up for what they believe in, and are careful not to break the values they have set. This leads to consumers identifying with the brand even more, which is mutually beneficial for both sides and creates lifelong relationships. In times when consumers are becoming louder about the issues affecting society, they want their favorite brands to back them up. In the wish to feel represented, consumers often put the expectation on corporations to engage, prove their values and stand along for what they believe in.
Can We Put a Price on the Company’s Values?
Yes, most definitely! Your brand’s values tell a lot about your company to the target audience. Which can either act in your favour, or well, not so much. Knowing so, determining the brand values requires a thoughtful and careful examination, before incorporation into a business strategy.
Your company’s values are so much more than the ‘About us’ section of your business webpage. Thoughtful and strong values attract employees who share the same perception of the world, which creates deeper connections to their workplace and sets a higher purpose. Values act as a guide for the business and set the atmosphere of mutual connection with others that think alike. This leaves customers not loving just the product – but the whole person! Um, company, yes. This leaves customers loving the whole company!
The key to owning a successful brand is knowing your ‘why’ and contributing to the world. This goes beyond selling the product. It all begins with ‘why you do what you do’. Not with what you do, or how you do it. The audience wants to know your why. The ‘why’ injects passion and lets the audience connect with you and stand behind your brand.
Giving back – such as helping mitigate climate change or bringing awareness to social justice, has become an imperative for successful brands. And sure enough, this acts as a magnet for clients who share the same values. It’s one aspect that could elevate the book value of the company – from the one mentioned penny to sky levels.
Telling Better Stories is Not Enough: Proving Brand Values
Never has transparency been more important in marketing than it is now. Consumers wish to know which materials brands used for their packaging, what conditions their employees work in, or what charitable donations they put with their extra profits. Every segment of a company’s actions needs to fit together like a puzzle – and form a natural flow of their signature identity.
While companies aim to do well, customers and clients demand from them to do good! Recent research has proven that nearly half of questioned consumers in the US and UK are willing to pay more for socially conscious or environmentally friendly bands. Around 84% of clients state that poor environmental records would cause them to turn their heads away from the company. The contribution to positive social change is being greatly recognized and awarded.
Following the shift in customers’ behaviour, many brands decided to break out of their spheres of business and deal with important issues. Some adjusted the design of their packaging to transmit messages about social justice. The others vowed to plant a tree for every purchase or to hire people with previous criminal records. Companies strive to establish another level of bonds with their customers.
However, reckless corporate behaviour has never echoed more. If a brand, for example, insults a particular social group with some feature of its product, the news about that event will be spread across all channels. Consequently, the audience reading the news will be bigger and geographically spread out, so the effect for the business will be worse. The same goes for greenwashing.
Here we come to another point – everything you do will be judged and reviewed on the internet. Therefore, it’s wise to think your business moves through – including social activism.
Sustainability: Brands of the Future
Recent research proved that 95% of Americans surveyed try to live a sustainable life. But even those who don’t, say they are taking actions that benefit the planet, its people and its resources. They do so through behaviors like reducing water and food waste or eating more plants.
Sustainable investing went through the roof in 2020. It accounted for a net flow of 20.9 million dollars in the US in the first half of the year. While investors are incorporating environment-related terms in their portfolios, consumers are paying more attention to plastic usage, climate change and circular economy.
Prioritizing sustainability has really incentivized great solutions for everyday life. Services such as Ripe Near Me can cleverly connect customers who wish to buy fruits and veggies, with their neighbors who grow them in their gardens. With our much loved Lime, you could scroll through cities with shared electric vehicles even a couple of years ago. The importance of smart solutions is recognized by millions of people.
Brands who realize the significance of conducting business in a more considerate way will definitely be the winners. After all this marketing trend is going nowhere. The general opinion is shifting towards the Earth-friendly direction. So even the biggest online retailers have added a special sustainable section to their merchandise platforms.
Pro Marketing Trend Tip: One Size Does Not Fit All
Brands creating on a global purpose need to be aware that their marketing strategy needs to reflect the priorities of the local consumer. On the other hand, if you’re just starting your brand and initializing business, the team at .ME has prepared an educational series with our actionable tips.
Some sectors are under public scrutiny on a much larger scale than others. So those companies especially need to be careful in their efforts for being socially and environmentally responsible. Yet, this fact can be leveraged for commercial benefit. If the brand succeeds in projecting a genuine message of responsibility and care, it could definitely provide a valuable competitive advantage against the rivals.
Key Takeaways for 2021 Marketing Trend: Equipping Your Brand for Conscious Consumerism
Let’s wrap it up! It’s evident that the powerful consumer demand, empowered by the rise in socially conscious generations creates a need for brands to be responsible in all aspects. This marketing trend is here to stay. We’ve learned that consumers will engage and bond more with brands that have a purpose that resonates with their beliefs. Investing in aspects of your brands ‘personality’ will pay off significantly in the long run.
This is an unbeatable reason to engage in problems that your company cares about and to give a helping hand to your society in fields your brand can contribute. What’s a better way to take care of our society and environment, than by personal and corporate effort combined? So, it’s just about time to make our tomorrows better than today is – together!
What marketing trend are you focusing on in 2021?