Yes, consumers are expecting brands and businesses to take a stand on social, cultural and political issues—but does that impact their buying decisions when they’re evaluating similar items with markedly different price tags? New research from B2B ratings and reviews firm Clutch finds that people do indeed prioritize environmental and human-focused causes over price.

Most people say a company’s commitment to environmentally-friendly business practices (71 percent), social responsibility (68 percent), and giving back to the local community (68 percent) are among the most important attributes of a company.

Less than half of people (44 percent) say price is among the most important attributes of a company.

“It depends on the company and the product, but I believe a lot of people are willing to pay a little bit more,” said Josh Weiss, CEO of 10 to 1 Public Relations, a PR firm in Scottsdale, Ariz.

People are more aware of the impact their buying decisions have on the environment and global community and seek companies with similar beliefs.

Brand commitments to social responsibility influence buying decisions more than price

People think businesses should take stances on social movements

Seventy-one percent (71 percent) of people think it’s important for businesses to take a stance on social movements.

This expectation presents challenges for businesses in determining:

  • Which issues are relevant to their brand
  • How to speak out about social issues
  • When to speak out about social issues

“Your corporate purpose is your North Star in determining whether to respond to certain movements,” said Steve Cody, CEO of Peppercomm Public Relations, in a news release.

Brand commitments to social responsibility influence buying decisions more than price

Companies’ stances on social movements influence people’s buying decisions

People choose to shop at companies that share their beliefs. Three-fourths of people (75 percent) are likely to start shopping at a company that supports an issue they agree with. Conversely, 59 percent of people are likely to stop shopping at a company that supports an issue they disagree with.

“Whatever people purchase is an extension of their being and personality,” said Ketan Kapoor, CEO and co-founder of Mettl, an HR technology company, in the release. “When they are seeking products, they are not only looking at the direct benefits of the product, but also how it affirms their own beliefs and values.”

Brand commitments to social responsibility influence buying decisions more than price

People’s expectations of businesses are evolving

Younger generations consider a company’s values more than older generations before making a purchase. Seventy percent (70 percent) of Generation Xers and 54 percent of millennials are likely to stop shopping at a company that supports an issue they disagree with compared to 37 percent of baby boomers.

Businesses will have to adapt to these evolving standards as younger generations gain more purchasing power.

“We’re only a decade or so away from sustainability being the only option for conducting business at scale,” said Jack Butcher, creative director at Opponent, in the release. “These changes will force businesses to adapt or die.”

Read the full report here.

Clutch’s 2019 PR and Corporate Social Responsibility Survey included 420 U.S. consumers who made a purchase within the last 5 months.

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