In the weeks following his death, I watched brands struggle with how to respond. Some brands donated money, others just put out a statement, some did nothing. As a data scientist, I couldn’t help but wonder how these companies were measuring the effect on their actions and inactions.
Some might argue that efforts to further the cause of racial equality don’t need measurement, that these companies were not chasing a return on investment. I agree that altruism doesn’t require financial justification, but my intuition said that by not measuring the effect, brands are undervaluing the return of values-based marketing. If brands were able to measure the positive values alignment created by that donation or scholarship program, they would do more, not less.
This is why Vrity exists. We are a data company that measures the financial impact of brand values on consumer behavior. Proving that consumers reward values alignment will lead to more values-based actions by more companies. I believe a ROI on values might even redefine how brands think about marketing, shifting time, money, and effort to make the world a better place – not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s the financially responsible thing to do.
I’m confident that smart brands made lifetime customers in 2020 because of how they responded to the pandemic, the election, and the Black Lives Matter movement. I think the values economy is just getting started. Modern brands will be judged by consumers for what they stand for just as much as what they make.
My first call in this journey was to Chris Copeland, a longtime friend and colleague, and a brilliant marketer. A few socially-distanced backyard meetings later, Vrity became a snowball rolling downhill, picking up momentum the more we talked and researched. We saw a data black hole at the center of the stakeholder capitalism movement. We plan on filling it, which we think will change how brand marketing works in a fundamental way.
Rest in peace George Floyd. I’m not a politician. I’m not a priest. I can’t do much to change the circumstances that led to his death. I’m just a data guy who knows that companies will do more to make the world a better place when there is a financial motivation, not just a moral one.
Co-founder and CEO