The Need for Purpose in an Ever More Aware Consumer Environment

Purpose is becoming increasingly important in consumer buying decisions concerning brand. According to Elderman PR’s blog, “When quality and price are equal, the most important factor influencing brand choice is Purpose.” Elderman has been providing PR counsel for more than 60 years and has created strategies for leading sustainable brands.

Elderman conducts an annual goodpurpose survey in 16 countries among 8,000 adults and measures the adult consumer’s commitment to societal issues including a brand’s social purpose and a consumer’s expectations of brand and corporation. The image below compares the goodpurpose study’s findings for consumers’ commitment to purpose when price and quality are equal.



Social purpose can be defined as actions of a company or brand that support its employees, value the customer over the bottom line and contribute to the society in which it survives. Societal contributions can help the environment, people and economic state of the society. Thinking about sustainability through social lenses will help one understand the need for sustainable actions.

If a brand or company can consider itself as part of the society, it will understand the need to support it rather than simply take from it. The action doesn’t have to be purchasing a big expensive machine that makes operations more energy efficient (although that’s great too); it can be as simple as sponsoring a youth sports team or implementing a work-place recycling program. It can be as great as Ben & Jerry’s Livable Wage program or Patagonia’s Common Threads program for recycling Patagonia products.

Whatever the action, it’s important to talk about it to your consumers. This study shows that more and more if a consumer knows what a brand does for its society they are more likely to choose that brand over a similar competitor.  If consumers don’t know about the company’s actions, they can’t make the choice to choose the more responsible brand.

A print or news media campaign isn’t necessary. Mentioning good-doings on social media platforms is a good way to spread the word and creates an easy way for audiences to share the information with their friends. As always, the more people engage in conversation about sustainable practices, the more common those practices will become.



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