The Double Top Line: What Gen Z expects from brands—and 2 ways they’ll pay for purpose

by | Jun 9, 2021 | Public Relations

Engaging with Gen Z is complicated, and goes way beyond the old-school formula of just delivering quality goods at a fair price. Brands and businesses today find themselves increasingly on the hook to deliver the “double bottom line” of both financial return and social impact. But many companies who are searching to define their purpose (when that’s not something that is native to their existing business models) want proof that this additional hurdle is worth the effort and investment.

New research from authentic purpose, vision, mission, values, and storytelling consultancy Cubist Martini, founded by former McKinney chairman and CEO Brad Brinegar, asked Gen Zers about the relationship between purpose and financial performance, especially relative to the value of consumer and employer brands.

The Double Top Line: What Gen Z expects from brands—and 2 ways they’ll pay for purpose

The findings of the survey, in partnership with McKinney, are compelling.

  • They found a consumer premium: 65 percent of Gen Z say they will pay 48 percent more, on average, for products from a purpose-driven brand.
  • And they found an employee premium: 49 percent of Gen Z say they will pay (by accepting 20 percent less salary, on average) to work for a purpose-driven company. Four out of 10 say they’ll do both. And only 23 percent of Gen Z’s say they are unlikely to do either.

The Double Top Line: What Gen Z expects from brands—and 2 ways they’ll pay for purpose

“We know it’s one thing to say you’d pay and another thing to do it, and the effect will certainly vary by industry, category, and brand,” said Brinegar, in a news release. “What this study shows is that operating from an authentic sense of purpose is—at the very least—a tiebreaker that makes it both easier to win customers and to attract and retain the best Gen Z talent. It’s a ‘double top line’ that fuels the increasingly important double bottom line.”

The Double Top Line: What Gen Z expects from brands—and 2 ways they’ll pay for purpose

The study, The Purpose Premium—Gen Z and the Double Top Line, also explores the societal issues that matter to the most ethnically diverse, gender identity–diverse, and progressive generation ever. Racial equity, access to health care, gender equity, climate change, and gun violence top the list of issues they believe are important and urgent. And 72 percent of those willing to pay a purpose premium say corporations need to be aggressive and visible in addressing such social challenges.

The Double Top Line: What Gen Z expects from brands—and 2 ways they’ll pay for purpose

Read the full report here.

This survey was fielded in April 2021, with a nationally representative sample of 1,002 Gen Z Adults 20–25 balanced for gender, race, ethnicity, and geography. The survey was created by Cubist Martini and fielded with the support of renowned creative, media, and technology powerhouse McKinney. 

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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