“Instead of just making your product incrementally better than the competitor, you need to create impact.”
We are increasingly aware of consumer (and employee) thirst for information from companies about their social responsibility initiatives, presumably so they can make more informed purchasing decisions. Now enter the media consultancy Havas Media with added insights that measure how brands affect wellbeing and quality of life. Havas Media is trying to get at the question of the role of a brand is in this environment of crumbling institutions and economic uncertainty and how consumers respond to brands in challenging times.
In the Meaningful Brands survey—a survey of 50,000 consumers in France, Spain, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, China, Japan, India, and the U.S.— consumers reported that only 20% of the brands they interact with have a positive impact on their lives. Most interestingly, those consumers feel that 70% of brands could disappear entirely without them noticing.
Think about that for a moment: Most consumer brands could be pulled from circulation and people wouldn’t even notice!
How do you know if your brand falls into that category? How do you avoid that fate?
The answer is to create meaningful impact for your customers – help them live better lives. As Umair Haque, the director of the Havas Media Labs, advises, focus on outcomes, not on outputs. And that’s a big shift in thinking, especially in the U.S. – the land of industry, consumption and excess.
“We’re trying to get beyond ‘did this company make a slightly better product’ to the more resonant, meaningful question: ‘Did this brand actually impact your life in a tangible, lasting, and positive way?’"
The reward for focusing on outcomes has big profit potential:
- 51% of consumers will choose responsible products over non responsible ones (up 11% from last year)
- 53% of consumers will pay a 10% premium for a product produced in a responsible way (up 9% from last year)44% of consumers will punish irresponsible companies (up 8% from last year)
Here are a few questions you can start asking yourself about your brands:
- Did this brand make people fitter, wiser, smarter, closer?
- Did it improve personal outcomes?
- Did it improve community outcomes?
- Did it pollute the environment?
You can read more about the Meaningful Brands Study and watch a video of Umair Haque discussing the results at Co.Exist.com.
You can read the survey results on Havas Media’s website.