On Principle: The Value of Values

WashU Olin Business School Podcast

In a white paper published in June 2021, WashU Olin’s Professor Stuart Bunderson and Jesse Wolfersberger, CEO and cofounder of Vrity, outlined a cross-section of consumer attitudes about how they relate to brands that outwardly articulate their values. Among their findings:

  • Consumers said they will vote with their wallets when people value-align with a brand. They’ll drive farther, dig deeper, spend more to support those brands.
  • Consumers who had job disruptions because of the pandemic were more likely to reevaluate their personal values.
  • Thirty-nine percent of people said there are brands they will never support because they were silent on an issue that was important to them.

“On the whole, what was so interesting is simply that these younger generations — and by younger, you’ve got to include Gen X in there — they’re very values-driven in their purchasing behavior and the way they think about companies,” said Bunderson, director of Olin’s Bauer Leadership Center. “So, this isn’t going away.”