Eighty-two percent of Indian consumers prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs, and are ditching those that don’t, according to new research from Accenture.
The fourteenth annual Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research – ‘From Me to We: The Rise of the Purpose-led Brand’ – surveyed nearly 30,000 consumers from around the world, including 660 Indian consumers, to gauge their expectations of brands and companies today. The study found that companies that stand for something bigger than what they sell, communicate their purpose and demonstrate commitment, are more likely to attract consumers and influence purchasing decisions which improves competitiveness.
“Technology and media have empowered consumers to take a stand on their opinions and beliefs, and this has had a profound impact on how they evaluate their brand associations. Price, product quality and customer experience continue to be important considerations but a brand’s purpose beyond profit has emerged as a clear differentiator,” said Anindya Basu, geographic unit and country senior managing director, Accenture in India.
Basu added, “This shift in expectations from ‘give me what I want’ to ‘support the ideals we believe in’ provides brands the opportunity to create stronger and more resilient customer relationships which generate more sales and greater customer lifetime value.”
Purpose influencing purchasing decisions
Eighty-one percent of Indian consumers want companies to take a stand on the social, cultural, environmental and political issues close to their hearts. Moreover, 84 percent say their purchasing decisions are influenced by the words, values and actions of a company’s leaders. Consumers are attracted to organisations that are committed to using good quality ingredients (84 percent), treat employees well (70 percent), and believe in reducing plastics and improving the environment (74 percent).
Authenticity and trust driving growth
Today, 75 percent of consumers say their purchasing consideration is driven by a company’s ethical values and authenticity. Furthermore, 84 percent crave greater transparency in how companies source their products, ensure safe working conditions and their stance on important issues such as animal testing.
Consumers changing the trajectory of companies
Eight-four percent of consumers believe their individual protest actions, such as boycotting a company or speaking out on social media, can make a difference in how companies behave. Forty-eight percent have been disappointed by how a company acted which betrayed consumers’ belief in what the company stands for, and 59 percent have stopped doing business with the company as a result.
“Understanding how to instill a sense of ‘brand belonging’ through a clear and relevant purpose is quickly becoming a prerequisite to stay relevant in today’s hyper-competitive world,” said Vineet R. Ahuja, managing director, Customer Insight & Growth Strategy, Accenture Strategy. “To usher in the next era of engagement, companies need to focus on creating a community of loyal, engaged and valuable brand proponents. Involving customers, employees and the larger ecosystem of stakeholders to identify and shape shared values will be key.”
Organisations that want to build stronger consumer connections and sustain their competitiveness by becoming purpose-led can do so by:
Defining what their business stands for: Companies need to determine the larger role they want to play in their customers’ lives and put a stake in the ground. Leaders can do that by understanding what their customers feel passionately about, why their employees choose to work for them and why other businesses partner with them. They’ll find what makes the company special and can use it to make a difference.
Being clear and authentic: Consumers can see through inauthenticity. If a company is truly committed to its purpose, its principles guide every business decision. This purpose will bind consumers, employees and shareholders alike. It requires bold leadership where actions speak louder than words.
Engaging consumers on a deeper level: With consumers actively aligning themselves to specific companies and having a stake in their success, businesses can capitalise on this energy by getting customers involved in co-creating new products and services, designing initiatives or partnerships, and investing in the company’s growth in exchange for personalised rewards. Including customers in their innovation ecosystem will help companies maintain their relevance, identify new growth opportunities and markets, and keep them on track with delivering on their promises.