Does your brand pass the ethics test?

People are buying from ethical brands more and more – we’re becoming values-based consumers. So we want to know if your brand passes the ethics test.

Every brand we help to develop is always built on whatever drives that business – its purpose and the genuine customer promises it stands by.

We call this brand personality – the DNA that roots a business to its core set of values.

But the narrative is changing and we’re substituting the word ‘values’, quite rightly, with the word ‘ethics’.

So what do we mean by ethics? Let’s break it down as we see things right now.

Three questions are becoming key drivers for us as customers when we decide where to buy our goods and services.

  1. Does this business have a clear purpose other than just making money?
  2. Does this business look after people and its local community?
  3. Does this business care about the planet and its future?

Look at the statistics

We can back this up with some key findings from a recent survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of Deloitte.

  • 28% of consumers said they had stopped buying certain products due to ethical or environmental concerns
  • For Generation Z (people aged 25 to 40) this percentage is 45%
  • There is a 50/50 split between those willing to pay more or not for ethical and environmental brands
  • 34% of consumers say lack of information is stopping them from choosing ethical brands

So, as you can see from this survey, our habits are changing. Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, there are some clear indicators.

Mintel’s 2030 Global Consumer Trends shows that we want control of our purchasing decisions. We want to see transparent information that makes us feel that we’re in the driver’s seat.

We also want to see brands demonstrating ethical actions, rather than ethical commitment. And we want to see brands being honest about their weaknesses and how they plan to improve.

Take our ethics test

A good place to start addressing these issues is to take a long, hard look at your brand by answering these six questions:

  1. Is the information you share clear, transparent and centred around your customers’ needs?
  2. Do you have a company purpose and set of values that show you care about people and the planet?
  3. Do you live up to the promises you make to your customers?
  4. Have you got a plan to improve your ethical credentials?
  5. Can you evidence your customer service claims with third party endorsements?
  6. Can you explain what being ethical means to your business?

Basically, an ethical business is a force for good. It thinks about the impact its actions have on the world. It has a social conscience driven by doing the right thing, not by legislation, regardless of the impact on profits.

Yes, this is a high bar for us all to reach but it’s something we all need to think about if we want our businesses to survive in the ‘new norm’.

Right now, we’re reviewing our own brand because we know we need to do more. If you think we can help your business, please get in touch. We can all learn from each other.