Social Purpose is the New Black

Social Purpose is the New Black

Mitchell Markson: Give Purpose a Chance, It’s a Plan for all Seasons.

The global marketing firm Edelman conducted their 4th annual good purpose study to explore consumer attitudes around social purpose and their social expectations of companies.  The study surveyed more than 7,000 adults in 13 countries (1,000 in the U.S.) and some noteworthy data has emerged.

86% of global consumers believe that companies need to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business interests.

In the United States, after quality and price, social purpose (at 47%) ranks higher as a purchase motivator than brand loyalty (27%) and design and innovation (26%).  In addition, if a brand of similar quality supports a good cause, 75% of consumers claim they would buy it.  62% of U.S. consumers say they would also switch brands if a brand of similar quality supported a good cause.  Finally, U.S. consumers’ willingness to actually promote a brand that supports a good cause jumped 19% from 2008 (47%) to 2010 (66%).

The Edelman report proposes that “purpose” now qualifies as the fifth P in marketing, joining the classic formula of price, placement, product, and promotion.  It also talks about the idea of an emerging citizen consumer, which is something we in the fair trade community hope to foster.

Transparency is one of the main principles of fair trade.  It’s really exciting to see that more people are making the effort to become familiar with the story behind the things they buy… and are then making a decision based not only on the product, but its social impact.  The citizen consumer is just such a person who knows that his/her vote at the register is arguably even more important than any vote cast at the ballot box.