IN TIMES OF CRISIS, CONSUMER VALUES MATTER MORE THAN EVER BEFORE
Protests erupted around the country this past weekend in reaction to the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, who was killed at the hands of four white police officers in Minneapolis. Brands and retailers across the nation quickly chimed in, standing in solidarity with the Black community and realigning themselves with the Black Lives Matter movement. Brands and retailers also showed support for protestors, stating that staying silent is no longer an option if real change is going to happen.
In times of crisis such as these, people fall back on their core values to drive their decision-making surrounding what they’ll purchase, where they’ll shop and who they will and won’t do business with. “Brands have a fundamental responsibility to join this discussion and to be part of the solution,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “Most brands are reflections of our culture. To do that today means being brave enough to contribute to the change we need to see in culture and society.”
In today’s everchanging world, personal values matter more than ever before, so keeping your finger on the pulse of what matters most to your customers and prospects can make or break your brand.
FIVE BRANDS SPEAKING OUT AGAINST RACISM
Below, we’ve rounded up five brands that have caught our attention recently for pledging their commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement thru compelling and adaptive messaging that’s empathetic to the cause and doesn’t attempt to exploit a values-driven campaign.
Nike released an ad called “Don’t Do It” as protests began across the country, a twist on their usual “Just Do It” motto. The ad encourages consumers not to sit by and watch as racism continues to plague the country, but instead, actively fight against it. Nike is no stranger to taking a stance on racism — back in 2018 the company tapped Colin Kaepernick to be the face of their 30th anniversary celebration of their famous, “Just Do It” slogan. This gamble worked in their favor, as the company’s online sales jumped 31%, so it’s no surprise they saw these protests as an opportunity to connect with their customers and prospects.
Nike is a winning example of a brand that recognizes and aligns with the core values of their customers and prospects. According to Resonate’s proprietary data on personal values, Nike customers top values are: showing their abilities, creativity and tolerance. Nike’s most recent ad taps directly into their customers’ values of acceptance and inclusion of those who are different from them, challenging consumers not to stay silent when they see injustice happening. Their customers will likely respond well to this ad, seeing as the last time Nike broached the topic of race, their consumer engagement benefited greatly.
2) Levi Strauss
The retailer, famously known for their blue jeans, took to Instagram to denounce systemic racism and injustice related to the Black community. In their message to 7.3 million Instagram followers, they also pledged to donate $100K to ACLU and another $100K to Live Free USA, an organization at the forefront of social injustice issues.
According to Resonate’s proprietary data, Levi Strauss shoppers are more likely than the average U.S. shopper to prefer companies that support the community, are honest/trustworthy and donate to charities. Levi Strauss’ choice to donate to these organizations taps into what their customers value when it comes to deciding who to do business with. 75% of this group also believes that promoting race equality is important, and one of their top personal values is avoiding upsetting people and showing respect for others.
The travel and lifestyle brand, despite being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, took to their Twitter account and posted a video aligning themselves with the Black Lives Matter movement. They also pledged to donate $500K to the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter Foundation, as well as match any employee donation to either fund, stating that: “We believe in a world where everyone belongs.” Airbnb is no stranger to taking a stand on social issues. In the past, they’ve offered subsidized housing for frontline workers during COVID-19 and opened homes for refugees that have been granted asylum in the U.S.
When looking closely at Resonate’s analysis of Airbnb users, it’s clear Airbnb is taking the values and preferences of their customers into account. Their customers are 51% more likely to prefer companies that listen to the public, 52% more likely to pay more based on an important issue and 28% more likely to engage in a company’s societal program. 25% of Airbnb users consider equality to be an important value to them, while 25% also place emphasis on tolerance and accepting those who are different from them.
The Kohl’s CEO shared a video message to all employees addressing the closure of some of their stores to prioritize the safety of their associates and customers over the weekend where protests and riots broke out. Kohl’s posted a link to this video on their Instagram account, for their 1.5 million followers to see. They also pledged to donate $250,000 to overcome racial injustice.
Kohl’s shoppers were likely pleased about this messaging and donation, as this statement aligned with their preferences and values. They’re 81% more likely to engage in a company’s societal program, 27% more likely to pay more based on an important issue and 22% more likely to prefer companies that support their community. 54% of this group prefers companies that are honest/trustworthy and 32% of them want to do business with companies that treat their employees fairly. 73% of this group also believes promoting race equality is very important.
The rideshare app, who has gotten heat for their inaction when it came to Trump’s travel ban back in 2017, tweeted that they are donating $1 million the Equal Justice Initiative and the Center for Policing Equity to “to support their important work in making criminal justice in America more just for all”, Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s CEO, said on social media.
According to Resonate’s curated report on personal values, one of Uber customers’ most important values is tolerance and the desire to accept those who are different from them. With this message being at the core of the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s clear Uber had their customers values in mind when making this pledge. Uber customers are also 54% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to prefer doing business with companies that donate to charities and 23% more likely to buy from businesses that listen to the public, both of which Uber vowed to do in the above tweet. They’re also 48% more likely to engage in a company’s societal program and 29% more likely to pay more based on an important issue.
CONSUMER VALUE ALIGNMENT HAS NEVER BEEN MORE CRITICAL
It’s never been more important for brands and retailers to realign themselves with what matters most to their customers. In times of crisis, people fall back on their core values and preferences to guide their decision-making. What brands and retailers need most during this unprecedented time in order to thrive is to keep their finger on the pulse of changing consumer sentiment and values. Leveraging a deeper, real-time understanding that only Resonate’s proprietary data can offer, will help you make better business decisions and foster brand loyalty. With customers and prospects looking to see how companies are committing themselves to the fight against racism, it’s critical for brands to connect with consumers in an authentic way that aligns with how they’re feeling in real-time.
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