brain header

A social purpose can serve more than one purpose

helping_others63% of people in the U.S. would recommend a brand that supports a good cause, according to the 3rd annual Edelman goodpurpose Consumer Study. That number was only 47% in 2008, representing a major shift in consumer attitudes in one year.

The Edelman study also found that, despite the recession, 85% of Americans are willing to change their consumption if it can “make the world a better place to live.” Although personal donations to charities are down (51%), people have been donating more of their own time to supporting good causes, and 65% look to brands/companies to “make it easier for them to make a difference.”

This difference in attitude isn’t confined to the U. S., as the goodpurpose study surveyed 6000 people in 10 countries. “People all over the world are now wearing, driving, eating, and living their social purpose as sustained engagement with good causes becomes a new criterion for social status and good social behavior,” according to Mitch Markson, president of Edelman’s brand consulting group and founder of goodpurpose.

As a result, Markson believes that brand loyalty can actually grow during a tough economy – if companies can connect to this shift toward social purpose, and if the connection rings true with the core values of the brand itself. It must be authentic, and it must be more than simply writing a check. It must be an integral part of your day-to-day business.

“Companies that become catalysts for social change and respond to rising consumer expectations that they and their brands help make the world a better place will not only survive, but also thrive, in ways their competitors will not,” said Markson. “Even better, consumers will want to share their support for these brands with others.”

People are passionate. People are involved. Credit Unions need to be.

A few credit unions have already latched onto this idea. Vancity has been featured multiple times for their triple bottom line approach to corporate social responsibility. Boulder Valley Credit Union has adopted a green strategy to the extent that it has become their brand strategy.

Looking for more ideas? Visit trendwatching.com for their article on Generation G (for generosity). Keep reading down the page for “8 ways for corporations to join Generation G.”

2 Responses to A social purpose can serve more than one purpose

  1. One of the keys to branding is values: you must know what your values are as on organization and distinguish yourself.Stronger values can lead to a stronger brand. As credit unions we need to continue promoting how we are different with our values. Credit unions are not just making loans and offering deposits: we are making a difference in people’s lives.

  2. Absolutely, Mark. Knowing what values are important to your credit union can be the foundation for differentiating yourself. Make sure that the impact is tangible, not just words in a mission statement, and you’ll have a brand that builds.

Tell us what you think.