Brand marketing: Good for me, or good for all?

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Here at Smoking Gun, everyone’s favourite ingenious PR firm in Manchester, we have long advocated CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility to those who prefer to do things in long form. However, according to a new report published this week, consumers might not actually be as responsive to this as others on the proverbial table.
From climate change to displaced populations, economic inequality to strained social services, the world is full of rather pressing matters that we could all do with sorting out at the earliest possible opportunity. The problem is, with plenty of distractions it needs to be a collective effort to try and get those issues on the back foot- hence the need for companies to do their bit in making the planet a better place to live for everyone.
We have also seen plenty of evidence that millennials- those born between 1981 and 1997, or thereabouts- are more responsive to ‘experience’ and ‘conscience’ focussed things, than they are pure cold hard cash and profit. For example, many young people now look to join firms not just because of great career prospects, but because of a desire to make stuff better whilst earning a decent living.
As such, it’s slightly surprising to read this article on The Drum, which quotes a new brand marketing survey by Weber Shandwick, that shows global consumers respond better to companies that give them a ‘good for me’ feeling, rather than ‘good for all’.
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But what exactly does that mean?
To look at the first definition, good for me basically links to how healthy a company, product, or service is. This is followed by how the product, company or service makes the consumer feel, and how the consumer feels about companies on the whole.
46% claimed they are increasingly buying from firms that make them feel happy and good, and 43% are looking to companies that appear to care about their well-being and happiness more than they once were.
In contrast, what companies do to protect or positively impact the environment, or companies that have a social purpose, are factors that only guide around 30% of those involved in the survey.
The obvious explanation, then, is that people remain more concerned with what impacts them directly, rather than the impact their purchasing decisions have on the world as a whole. However, we think this might be reading things a little too simplistically, and forgetting about that all-important ‘between the lines’ bit, where often the really vital information is hiding out.
For example, there’s nothing to say that a purchasing decision that makes the consumer feel positive about themselves is not also a purchasing decision that has a positive impact on the world as a whole. If we buy a product that is environmentally sound, or use a service that directly puts back into the community, then would this not also make us feel good?
The study also makes clear that millennials are likely to respond to both ‘good for me’ and ‘good for all’ aspects, rather than just one or the other. Given the ongoing movement towards eating better, exercising more, cutting out on chemicals and synthetics, and said generation’s obvious awareness that the planet needs our help, this point is hardly revelatory, but worth noting nonetheless.
Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick, is quoted in the news piece, and has some useful insights that are worth sharing.
“Our study highlights a heightened demand for more personalised corporate narratives… …Such narratives today are most relevant when they relate directly to tackling broad societal issues. Communications, marketing, and R&D need to be more integrated than ever to achieve this new reputation paradigm.”
Food for thought, for sure.

Looking for more advice on PR, social media, and marketing? Why not get in contact or submit a brief to inject a little ingeniousness into your brand.

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