Why values-based consumers can’t be ignored by the world’s brands

By our News Team | 2021

Attitudes may vary from region to region, but an increasing number of people want to support brands that align with their values.

Values-based consumers — people who vote with their wallets to support brands that align with their values — are on the rise, a trend accelerated by COVID-19. These consumers are making brands more aware of the importance of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

This is according to Xiaofeng Wang, Principal Analyst in the Asia-Pacific region for international market research and advisory company Forrester. In a recent blog, she points out, though, that issues such as sustainability appear to be receiving less attention from corporates in the region than in many other markets.

“In fact, we predict that in 2022, the number of firms in [Asia-Pacific] to appoint a dedicated sustainability lead will be less than half the global average,” Wang says.

Values-based consumers

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

“Still, brands should act and heed the call of values-based consumers by embracing ethical marketing practices. Done right, it can enhance customer trust and loyalty and bring long-term value to brand.”

Two main reasons to market ethically

Posing the question as to why brands should adopt ethical marketing, Wang writes that there are two main reasons to do so:

  • Values-based consumers demand ethical marketing. Today’s empowered consumers have high expectations of the social and environmental stances of the companies and brands they engage with. Forrester’s 2021 data shows that 73% of US, 72% of UK, and 84% of metropolitan Chinese Progressive Pioneers (the most empowered segment) support brands that commit to social justice causes; 79% of US, 83% of UK, and 85% of metro Chinese Progressive Pioneers believe that companies are responsible for protecting the environment. To address these increasing consumer demands, more and more brands are embracing ethical marketing.
  • Done right, ethical marketing brings long-term value and loyalty. There’s a positive correlation between ethical marketing, the quality of consumer/brand relationships, and how consumers perceive product quality; together, they contribute to brand loyalty. Ethical marketing is a long-term play rather than a one-off effort or pursuit of the latest trends. Brands that express their values consistently in ethical marketing are more likely to reap the rewards: Forrester data shows that more than half of consumers prefer to buy from brands that stay true to their own values rather than reflect the latest trend.

Doing ethical marketing incorrectly can cause serious consumer backlash and have a severe impact on business performance, such as reducing sales, Wang warns.