US Consumers have more faith in brands than in government

Through a survey of consumers across eight markets, the Edelman Earned Brand report confirmed that brands can easily strengthen consumer-brand relationships through taking a strong stance on a societal issue. Consumers support and engage more with brands that take action.

The survey determined that consumers today have more trust in businesses than in government, with 64 percent saying that they believe CEOs should take the lead on change instead of waiting on government to impose it. Almost half of consumers feel that private businesses and brands have better ideas to solving problems than the government does, and 53 percent believe that brands are more capable than the government is when it comes to bringing on social change.

In its report, Edelman identified what it calls “belief-driven buyers,” which it describes as shoppers who “choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.” It reported that belief-driven buyers came to be in 2017, with 1 in 2 consumers classifying into this category. This year, Edelman accounted that nearly 2 in every 3 consumers are belief-driven.

The belief-driven buyers of 2018 represent a majority of consumers across every market, age group and income level. The survey looked into markets across the U.S., UK, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India and Japan and determined that in each diverse market, the majority of consumers are driven by a brand’s stance on social issues.

Most belief-driven buyers are within the Gen Z and millennial generations, however between 2017 and 2018, the biggest growth in this type of consumer was seen in the baby boomer generation, of ages 55 and up.

Of the belief-driven buyer group, 67 percent have bought from a brand for the first time because of its stance on a controversial issue, and 65 percent would avoid buying from a brand because it stayed silent on an issue it had an obligation to address.

Taking a stand on a societal issue did well for Nike

When Nike brought on NFL athlete Colin Kaepernick as the face of its 30th anniversary campaign, it was widely criticized. The athlete had protested racial injustice during the national anthem, and in this move, Nike announced that it stood beside Kaepernick on this social issue. Some were immediately disgruntled after Nike’s endorsement of Kaepernick, and turned to social media to post images of themselves burning Nike products.

However, the brand was quickly rewarded by supporting consumers, and its online sales went up by 31 percent in the Labor Day holiday weekend just after. The year before, Nike’s online sales for the holiday weekend had only increased by 17 percent. Not long after, Nike’s shares hit an all-time high at over 83 dollars. Nike’s experience proves Edelman’s findings; consumers make a decision towards a brand based on its societal stances. And while many consumers were unhappy with the brand’s standpoint, those who were satisfied showed it through purchases.

photo: via Nike Newsroom





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