The importance of positive impact marketing

In a world of finite resources and supply chains spanning the planet, what we produce and sell has become part of the biggest problem facing humanity. The world is burning and things have to change — fast.

Consumers demand more from their brands of choice. And so they should. Taking a stand on doing good is good for business, because that’s what your customers are demanding.

It’s time to realise that people are already making buying decisions based on your brand values and positive impact stance.

In this blog, discover insights from our Positive Impact Marketing Report produced by Building Brands, on why business leaders need to step up and make a difference. Trust us – those that do will reap the benefits.

National consumer trends

Clarity on what your customers and clients care about is vital. Positive impact needs to be rooted in your values. 

The proof?

  • 77% of UK consumers are more likely to buy from brands whose values align with their own.
  • 73% of Millennials are willing to spend more for a product if the brand is environmentally sustainable.
  • Nearly two thirds of Gen Z have stopped buying from brands not aligned with their values.

So, if you don’t really know what they care about, how can you establish brand values that work for the business and your customers?

According to Deloitte, consumers regard the five most important sustainable or ethical practices as:

1. Producing sustainable packaging and products.

2. Reducing waste in manufacturing processes.

3. Committing to ethical working practises.

4. Reducing carbon footprint.

5. Respect for human rights.

And it doesn’t stop there. A rise in eco-anxiety, disillusionment in mainstream politics, cost of living pressures and mistrust in institutions means more consumers than ever are thinking critically about brands that don’t respond to external factors.

In fact, 87% of UK consumers believe more brands should do their part in helping the world, especially during difficult times.

So, beyond what you do — your core product or service offering — people care about not only what you stand for, but what you are going to do about it. From becoming a B-Corp to giving a percentage of your profits to relevant causes, it’s the tangibles that matter. And now the evidence is emerging of just how this shift is already affecting the bottom line.

A recent study by Harvard Business School found that companies with a defined purpose, setting out how the organisation helps people and/or the planet, actually grow faster. It found that 58% of purpose-driven organisations grew 10% or more in three years, compared to 42% that are not purpose-driven.

Regional business sentiment

To take a closer look on a regional scale, we surveyed business leaders in the South West on everything from their greatest priorities to their biggest challenges.

What’s striking is that most businesses still lack a clear position on external factors that matter to their customers.

Instead, when it comes to positive impact, most focus on their own people. Supporting employees through career opportunities and learning and development was the number one positive impact priority as a business. But is that enough?

It’s certainly an area we have more control over. And of course it’s vital for a successful business that’s going to be good at attracting, retaining and supporting the best talent (nearly half of UK employees would consider resigning if the values of the company did not align with their own).

But ignoring or limiting external issues, like the environment, sustainability and social causes, risks a growing disconnect with customers, and misses a golden opportunity to do good and set yourself apart from competitors through embracing external positive impact work.

Encouragingly, most respondents agree that businesses share a collective responsibility in acting now to tackle climate change. Indeed, 80% felt that businesses who do nothing to reduce their carbon footprint should face penalties to encourage them to change. The survey also revealed how improving social mobility was a key positive impact driver for many businesses.

Chris Noble, Creative Director at Program: “More and more, end-users’ desires are becoming unselfish, and consumers are leaning toward brands that overtly benefit the planet and its inhabitants while running its business. Customers aren’t shopping for your profit, and good employees work better if they know that they’re helping causes that transcend the bottom line. Your stated and true purpose should be fulfilling end-user desires. The need for profit is a given; not a purpose.”

Positive impact marketing in play

Bronwen Foster-Butler, Chief Marketing Officer at Finisterre: “Finisterre was born from a belief that we could be a better business. The surf industry was dominated by bikinis and boardshorts — you couldn’t be further from the realities of a Cornish surfer — and the products were created at the expense of the very environment we played in.

“Since day one, our vision has been to create a brand that celebrates and protects our ocean, enabling us to all have a deeper connection to it. After all, we believe you will fight to protect what you love.

 “Fortunately, our message resonates with our customers. Our commitment to sustainability continues to be the number 1 reason they buy from us.”

Developing a positive impact brand is a strategic move that can win you a loyal and socially conscious customer base, and a committed workforce of the best talent around. The time for change was yesterday. What can you do today to unlock the power of positive impact marketing?

Download our full report, produced by Building Brands to discover how to tap into the power of positive impact marketing.


By Emily Brotherton