Aligning values with purchase

What if I told you that 90% of American adults have indicated that they will buy your product over others if they know you have shared values? And what if I told you that 49% would pay more for your product or service? Again, if you have shared values or at least can show that you are working toward a positive benefit for others. We recently closed our second study of Conscious Consumers and that is exactly what they are indicating. The specific question was:

For companies that incorporate values into their business model, are you willing to pay more for their products or services?

The answer is a clear yes. And even if they are not willing to pay more, they have indicated they are willing to switch if price is aligned with others in the category. Some may require you to be able to prove your claims or have third party certification but many don’t. 65% of American adults claim to respect companies that operate by incorporating values into their business models. Even if those efforts are a work in progress. Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 6.07.38 PM In the end they want to know that you have a plan and a pathway to operating in a way that connects closer to their beliefs and values. Essentially meaning that it’s ok to be a profitable business as long as you’re doing good. In the QSR space we have often cited Chipotle as an example. Recently in that same space Panera announced that it intends to remove artificial additives (colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives) from its bakery-cafe food menu by the end of 2016. They have made a bold commitment and established an end date for implementation. A pathway to being a better more mindful business.

But be careful. Over half of the people interviewed for the survey stated that they “do research to make sure the claims are true.” Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 6.09.06 PM And you need look no further than both Kashi and Chobani recently dropping their “all natural” claims as proof that Conscious Consumers are willing to call you out.

We know that today’s more conscious-minded consumer is paying attention, and that this consumer represents a significant percentage of American adults. Being sure that the plan you have includes social welfare/values-based components that connect with your audience are no longer nice-to-have options. They are important components indicating who you are, what you stand for and who you represent. And your business models need to have them built in.