People Say they value Values, but Do they?

Whenever you talk about consumer research, it is a given that someone is going to say, “I know people say that but I don’t believe that’s what they do!” In fact, it’s such a prevalent phenomenon that the Say:Do Ratio exists to quantify the gap and to help offset this common concern. 

In the Values Economy, we continue to see survey after survey full of consumers that want brands to lead on critical societal issues. The younger you are, the more important you see brands in the race to address everything from environmentalism to equality. In January 2021, we did the research — we found that roughly 80% of consumers felt this way. Recently, Razorfish and Vice Media performed a  values exercise and found the number to be 82%. Say what you want: the people are looking for brands to do more.

So, if this kind of response is so prevalent, what are brands doing about it? There’s little doubt there has been an increase in values marketing in 2021. Purpose is the reason for many brand advertising campaigns this year. Every automaker is going green to save the environment. Most CPGs are not just about outer beauty but equality inside and out. 

However, that’s where the Say:Do Ratio seems to be falling short. Brands continue to say they hold Values high but are they really doing enough to measure the change? They have tuned their listening platforms to hear what matters and parrot it back. It’s a dangerous echo chamber that may cause some brands to fall short on Doing enough. 

For brands to enact real change, decisive action, and inspire movements, they need more than just 30-second TV moments. They need to get closer to the data. It’s now possible to understand the role Values play in consumer behaviour throughout  the purchase journey. Smart brands will see this as an opportunity to both say and do more.