Does ‘brand purpose’ messaging actually impact consumer behavior?

Reprinted from campaignUS

Story by Sabrina Sanchez

A recent study by Vrity shows taking stances on social issues does increase purchase propensity.

Some might wonder if all this talk about “brand purpose” might be moot from a sales perspective.

Turns out, taking a stand can drive business. 

That’s according to recently-launched brand measurement company Vrity, which launched the Vrity Values Return Index on Monday, a platform that measures purchase propensity of values-driven messaging. 

The company also released research, which surveyed 1,000 respondents and was conducted using artificial intelligence to interpret consumer sentiment on social media, that showed that brand values have increasingly become a determining factor in consumer choices between comparable brands. 

Based on the research, 82% of consumers would pay a premium to choose a brand that supports a cause that is important to them, and  43% said they would pay twice as much to support that brand. 

“The way that brands differentiate is what they stand for,” said Jesse Wolfersberger, co-founder of Vrity. “Our research found that [2020] became a real tipping point where people said, ‘I’m gonna vote with my wallet for this. I care more about this than I ever did.’”

More than half  (55%) of survey respondents said they pay more attention to brand values than they did a year ago, and 37% refuse to purchase from certain brands who have stayed silent on social issues. 

Vrity also analyzed the financial impact of socially-responsible ads that aired during Super Bowl LV. The research found that Anheuser-Busch’s spot, for instance, increased purchase consideration by 156%, thanks to a purposeful message about getting together in person post-pandemic. Similarly, General Motors’ Super Bowl ad, focused on electric vehicles, led to a 10% increase in values like health, joy and innovation while increasing purchase propensity by 153%.

“We didn’t invent the values economy framework, but people minimize it by saying that only kids or people under 21 and care about [it],” Wolfersberger said. “That’s not true. Everyone cares.”