Social Responsibility: An Emerging Consumer Trend

In many ways, millennials hold the world in their palms and have the power to shape it in one hand while carrying an iced latte in the other. They use this influence to create consumer trends that quickly become standards among brands and businesses who wish to connect with their dynamic generation.

The fourth part of this series considers the social responsibility behind a brand’s mission beyond the product itself — a concept widely expected by younger consumers. Nielson’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report indicated that 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand, while an even larger 73% of surveyed millennials indicated a similar preference.

Millennials, more than any other generation, place emphasis on the ethics and social responsibility that a brand stands for. They are more likely to spend their money, and in some cases a lot more of it, on a product when it is thoughtfully sourced, has a giveback that aligns with their own values, or takes a stand on an issue, no matter the side.

Aligning with social causes can prove deeper authenticity and connection among consumers. Sea Salt Wines, a coastal born and bred beverage, gives a percentage of profits from each bottle purchased back to support the Warrior Surf Foundation, whose mission is to enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of veterans and their families through surf therapy. Since Sea Salt drinkers already relate to an active coastal lifestyle, it’s natural for them to feel inclined to support the initiatives of Warrior Surf by way of their favorite adult beverage brand versus the alternative who may not have a definitive stance.

Social Responsibility | Warrior Surf Foundation + Sea Salt Wines Partnership

Rishabh Chokhani, CEO of Naturevibe Botanicals, notes that “people want to feel that whatever they are buying aligns with their personal values.” As it relates to the alcohol industry, some consumers would rather purchase the locally brewed sour beer that features a local artist’s design across the can over a standard Bud Light every time, if shopping locally is important to them, even if the cost is three fold. They’re willing to pay extra to support what they believe to be quality products and meaningful givebacks because those values shape the reality that they live in. 

As brands continue to understand that their ethics and social responsibility can influence purchasing decisions and loyalty for many millennials, more stands will be taken to connect with audiences whose values align, fulfilling the standard created by this growing generation.

Sources: eMarketer | Forbes | Business Insider | Nielsen