Consumers want socially conscious brands but don't trust them to be ethical

Alys Key
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Four in five consumers think brands should take steps to reduce their impact on the environment (Source: Getty)

Consumers are letting their conscience guide their buying choices, as four in 10 say they have abandoned brands due to poor corporate behaviours.

In a study launched today at MediaCom’s Social Change Hub, half of respondents said they are willing to pay more for a brand that supports a cause which is important to them.

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Younger respondents were most likely to show socially conscious attitudes. Of the surveyed 18 to 24 year-olds, 49 per cent saying they have bought a product specifically because of the brand’s values, average of 35 per cent across all age groups.

But the findings also suggest that gaffes like Pepsi’s recent backfired protest ad campaign could be undermining the public’s trust in corporate attempts to give back to society.

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While 80 per cent of people believe companies need to take steps to minimise environmental impact, 65 per cent think that brands overstate their eco-friendly credentials. A further 45 per cent admitted they were sceptical of any brands claiming to support good causes.

Pauline Robson, managing partner and head of MediaCom’s research arm, said: “The role and responsibilities of brands in society is a complex thing. Even those which do have good values or behaviours at their heart face a challenge in convincing the public that they are genuine and can be trusted.”

She went on to say: “Working to make a positive impact on society isn’t a ‘nice to have’, it should be part of a brand’s DNA and a pillar of any communications and interactions with consumers. It can make your brand stand apart from the competition.”

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