The belief-driven buyer

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Are you a startup trying to figure out a way to appeal to all-important millennial consumers? Or an established brand that’s watching in alarm as your market share dwindles?

And are you having trouble attracting the millennial employees that can help ensure your business’s success?

If so, it’s time to ensure your company is doing something positive for the world at large. In short: You better stand for something.

According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand report, 64 per cent of consumers now expect brands to effect positive change. They will buy from or boycott brands based on a company’s stance on a social or political issue. Sixty-seven per cent of respondents said they bought a brand for the first time because of the company's position on a controversial issue, while 65 per cent said they refused to buy a brand because it stayed silent on an issue it had an obligation to address.

Nike is an obvious example of this phenomenon. The company’s stock surged when it signed an endorsement deal with Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against black men by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. The company has added nearly $6 billion to its market value since signing Kaepernick to the “Just Do It” campaign.

It’s not just consumers who are belief-driven. By 2025, millennials will make up 75 per cent of the workforce -- and they want to work for companies with a social conscience. In fact, more than eight in 10 millennials believe that a successful business needs to have a genuine purpose, and two thirds aspire to make a positive difference in the world.

Big brands are already responding to modern consumer expectations.

Walmart and Unilever recently joined forces to fight tropical deforestation in response to a demand for sustainable supply chains. Starbucks has switched to paper straws.

Microsoft is going to bat for inclusion, creating jobs and providing employment opportunities to people with disabilities.

Slack, the tech unicorn/workplace messaging giant, has created an apprenticeship that will give jobs to ex-convicts.

Companies as wide-ranging as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s are committing to social, environmental, governance and employee accountability.

Dell, GE, IKEA and LinkedIn, to name just a few, have all made commitments to social causes ranging from affordable housing initiatives to hiring diversity.

So what’s your company doing? Do you have a plan in place? And are you communicating that plan effectively both internally and to the world at large?

Any successful public relations strategy must include a commitment to corporate social responsibility. At Provident, we’ve worked with companies and brands who know that having a social purpose is not only good for their bottom line, but also helps attract top talent who are inspired by the positive work these companies are doing.