To better understand how customer purchasing decisions are influenced by product and purpose priorities and to avoid market pitfalls, brands can use the FINN Diagnostic Ranking Tool. Geography and generational expectations influence purpose-perspective buying patterns.
The FINN Purpose Alignment Index is a proprietary research product developed to measure the impact of a company’s or brand’s purpose-related commitments and efforts on consumer purchasing decisions. FINN Partners is a top global integrated marketing and communications agency.
The Index is a groundbreaking diagnostic tool that can be used in any industrial sector to help brands and businesses understand how their product and purpose priorities affect consumers’ purchasing decisions in a cutthroat market. Using this exclusive index, companies can fine-tune purpose-centric marketing strategies and communications plans based on the likelihood of customers supporting a brand because of its social effect and the predictive influence on brand perception.
According to Amy Terpeluk, managing partner of the FINN Purpose and Social Impact Practice, “Our sector-leading Purpose and Social Impact Practice helps companies define and articulate their distinctive, purpose-driven stories. Research has repeatedly shown that characteristics associated to purpose improve corporate reputations and boost revenues. Market leaders can actively drive their company’s actions and direction for quantifiable results using the FINN Purpose Alignment Index.”
In March 2023, FINN conducted a study with more than 2,000 consumers in the US and UK to get their opinions on seven brand purpose factors, including reputation, functionality, customer experience, ESG/social impact, social influence, and marketing. This was done to show how useful the Index is in practice. The index reveals additional characteristics that influence customer purchases across 40 subfactors, such as labor diversity, data privacy, and dependability. Among the study’s findings:
- When consumers are choosing a product, social impact is more significant than product qualities. Consumers examine the reputation of the business as an employer, the openness of its business procedures, and its efforts to diversify and include its workforce when deciding what and from whom to purchase goods. Keeping customer information secure and private (#4) and conducting business ethically (#5) rank higher than new features (#6) and product innovation (#10) among the 40 social impact ranking categories.
- When goals for the product and mission are aligned, generational differences become quite obvious. Cost-conscious and ranking social impact/ESG considerations in the top half of their shopping preferences are Gen Xers and Millennials. The most likely demographics to buy personal technology products are Gen Z and Millennials, and when making purchases, they prioritize social effect over price sensitivity.
- The top 20 brand purpose preferences of UK consumers include twice as many social effect characteristics as those of US consumers, who rate social impact aspects sixth higher overall. US consumers regularly place social impact aspects lower than UK citizens, with the exception of treating staff well. UK customers place a higher value on elements like open communication inside a company and a varied workforce than do US consumers, who don’t list these elements among their top 20 sub-factors.
- Sustainability and the environment are significant factors, but women consumers place a higher value on them than men do, who placed that issue 19th in their top 20. The respondents also believed that most businesses operate poorly in these areas, despite the fact that they evaluated environmental consequences and sustainable business practices as extremely essential.
- For buyers from the UK and younger generations, “walking the walk” is more important than product attributes. According to the data, a brand’s performance along with its mission and social impact will ultimately persuade customers and increase a company’s market share.
“The FINN Brand Purpose Alignment Index offers companies a diagnostic tool to understand how to prioritize initiatives that promote societal benefit around the factors most important to consumers, to influence their buying decisions and enhance their overall brand experience,” explains Barry Reicherter, managing partner, FINN Global Intelligence. “This study also shows that there are purpose alignment gaps that may be found and prioritized for maximum positive reputational and financial impact, regardless of how well a brand performs with customers.”
To assist industry professionals evaluating corporate and brand campaign alignment and marketing communication professionals assessing industry purpose and social impact, FINN will make the 40 social ranking elements available as a free download. Leading corporations recently launched social impact programs that were swiftly abandoned and criticized for being “out of touch” with the interests of their customers and shareholders. Decision-makers will be able to evaluate campaign concepts alongside market interests thanks to the Index and ranking elements.
Consumers place a high value on purpose and social effect, and Gil Bashe, chair of global health and purpose, said, “We know that companies that embrace good corporate citizenship have stronger reputations and do better in the marketplace. With the FINN Purpose Alignment Index, we can direct how and when a company incorporates purpose-based initiatives to create stronger, organic connections and life-long relationships with consumers for far-reaching mutual benefits for people and the planet,” states the FINN Purpose Alignment Index.”
“FINN was founded with the intention to provide something unique. From a small group to a community of 1,400, we have stayed true to our core values of caring for people, acting ethically, inspiring change, promoting justice and equality, and supporting businesses and causes to address the most urgent social issues,” says Peter Finn, CEO and Founding Partner of FINN Partners. “Sharing the Index and the rating information will help other C-Suite executives mobilize their organizations for social action in a deliberate and intelligent manner.”
The significance of purpose and social impact for businesses, NGOs, and institutions
A company’s purpose must be acknowledged as a contributor to its identity and reputation and rooted in its strategy. The focus of purpose and social impact initiatives must be on enhancing reputation and relationships while achieving alignment among staff members, clients, shareholders, policymakers, and market influencers. The four priorities are: (1) increase and sustain customer loyalty; (2) engage and retain a diverse employee community; (3) improve environmental, social, and governance performance and reduce business risk; and (4) direct resource allocation and priorities. Each function applies a different lens to how purpose should align around these four priorities.