The third Earned Brand report from a public relations firm, Edelman reveals some interesting data on the kind of relationships that brands ought to forge with consumers. Brands should note that their position on a social or political issue, is likely to impact the purchase decisions of about 57% of their customers. Edelman surveyed 14,000 people across 14 countries to find out about the relationships that brands had with their customers.
Mark Renshaw, global chair of the brand at Edelman, said, “People really are buying on belief, and brands have a huge potential to gain if you do share your belief and act out on those beliefs. We really think this is an opportunity for brands, and it’s something that all brands should be looking at proactively versus reactively.”
A brand’s stance on a touchy social issue will influence purchase decisions of 67% of the respondents while 50% of the respondents said they would decide to buy products of a brand because of its beliefs. Brands should beware of keeping silent on specific issues that their customers care about because 65% of respondents say if a brand doesn’t talk about a social issue that they feel it should talk about, they wouldn’t buy products of that brand. As much as brands stand to lose by remaining silent on specific issues, they also stand to get rewarded when they choose to be vocal about a specific issue the customer cares about. Nearly half (48%) of the respondents would defend the brand while 23% said they were willing to pay 25% more for the brand’s products; around 51% said they would buy it exclusively and more frequently.
Edelman’s Renshaw clarified that the survey wasn’t meant to push brands into politics. He said, “We don’t believe it’s about politics. In fact, we would say stay away from politics. But the issues that are being discussed in society are things like the environment, equality, and immigration. Obviously, sometimes issues have a political aspect, but the issues themselves are what brands should be focused on—not the political sides of those issues.” Referring to the Heineken ‘Worlds Apart’ campaign, Renshaw explained, “So it’s not just weighing an issue in society right now but actually putting the product as a core part of bringing people together.”