NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Razorfish, in conjunction with VICE Media Group, today released findings from new research that unpacks changing consumer attitudes toward brand purpose. The study, “The Truths, Myths and Nuances Behind Purpose,” seeks to understand how consumers across generations and demographics view purpose and the role it plays in purchase decisions and brand loyalty. It found that, while consumers are increasingly wary of “purpose signaling,” their expectation that brands have a positive impact on society remains high.
Research findings indicate that Gen Z is a driving force behind the call for change. Gen Z is 2x more likely than millennials, and 3x more likely than Gen X, to feel that brands—more so than media companies and institutions—are more likely to make the world a better place. This generation also prioritizes purpose when making purchasing decisions, with 76% stating the brands they buy stand for a greater mission/purpose.
Millennials and Gen X are no different, albeit by varying degrees, and the Razorfish report cautions that it’s important that brands not focus their purpose efforts exclusively on Gen Z. In fact, 62% of consumers of all ages surveyed say that when it comes to making purchase decisions, a brand’s values are important or very important to them, with 40% actively researching a brand’s values and practices. Brand purpose (41%) also outweighs other benefits, including innovation (32%) and discounts (26%), when choosing a brand.
Purpose is on the Brink of Losing its Purpose
The pandemic has changed how people think about brands, their missions and values. Consumers place a greater importance on purpose when making purchase decisions, but many brand efforts fall flat.
“Most brands have jumped on the purpose bandwagon, but few actively drive it forward,” said Nicolas Chidiac, brand strategy lead at Razorfish. “We’re at the peak of purpose washing, and it’s imperative that brands not only clearly communicate their purpose but authentically put it into practice in everything they do. Brands are beyond the ‘why’ and are struggling with the ‘how’ to follow through and tie purpose to performance.”
Purpose Holds Value(s)
The study also found that:
● Purpose influences purchase.
○ 82% of respondents stated that the brands they buy personally (and 75% of the brands their friends buy) stand for a greater mission/purpose.
● Consumers care about both societal and personal benefit.
○ 76% of respondents say the brands they buy make the world a better place and 67% said the brands they buy make them a better person.
● Purpose is amplified by proximity.
○ 40% of respondents stated that buying local food/drinks became more important to them during the pandemic, while 7 in 10 respondents agreed that it’s important/extremely important for brands to give back to their local community.
"The meaning and value of purpose in society have evolved significantly over the past couple years. It's no longer enough for brands to simply have a purpose. That purpose has to be accessible and attainable through their everyday work and culture," said Julie Arbit, Global SVP, Insights at VICE Media Group. "Brands need to demonstrate their purpose in everything they do and invite consumers to join them. Acting on purpose is what builds authenticity and trust and gets today's consumers to buy in—both figuratively and literally."
Putting Purpose into Practice
Brands today have a great opportunity to put action behind their words and to positively impact society. The Razorfish report recommends that brands:
● Keep it 100 – Purpose appropriation has led to an erosion of consumer trust. Take stock of where you stand and what purpose you serve your consumer, both personally and societally.
● Take small steps – Purpose, like people, is complicated. Focus on your immediate impact, your local community, and the power of your voice.
● Invite consumers in – Purpose isn’t always accessible. Reduce the time it takes for consumers to discover and trust your purpose by revealing it across all touchpoints.
The Razorfish Purpose Summit on November 16 will take a deep dive into these findings and offer tactics to help marketers put purpose into practice. The virtual summit will focus on the power that purpose can have when linked to performance and organizational direction, not just ad campaigns. Speakers from Dove to General Motors will look beyond the statistics about people’s wants from brands and delve into the power of purpose when properly implemented.
Razorfish and VICE Media Group conducted three phases of research in the US between May and June 2021. Phase 1 consisted of 12 x 60-minute in-depth phone interviews. Phase 2 included an online survey of 900 consumers. Phase 3 consisted of further testing and analysis with a subset of 150 participants across demographics. Generations were evenly represented across respondents, with Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X+ as the categorical breakdown.
Razorfish is a global leader in marketing transformation. We help brands and businesses grow by creating unforgettable experiences that connect and enrich people’s lives. A digital pioneer since the dawn of the internet, we’re back to write a new chapter. Everything we make starts with people. Our 1,400 strategy, data, creative and technology experts combine digital innovation, data and cultural insights to help us understand what people want at every part of the journey. Through capabilities in products & platforms; physical & digital; and campaigns & content, we turn ideas into experiences that make a difference for our clients, their customers, and the world we all live in.
About VICE Media Group
VICE Media Group is a global multi-platform media company. Launched in 1994, VICE has offices across 25 countries across the globe with a focus on five key businesses: VICE.com, an award-winning international network of digital content; VICE STUDIOS, a feature film and television production studio; VICE TV, an Emmy-winning international television network; a Peabody award-winning NEWS division with the most Emmy-awarded nightly news broadcast; and VIRTUE, a global, full-service creative agency. VICE Media Group’s portfolio includes Refinery29, the leading global media and entertainment company focused on women; PULSE Films, a London-based next-generation production studio with outposts in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Berlin; and i-D, a global digital and bimonthly magazine defining fashion and contemporary culture and design.