So, how do consumers view brand purpose in 2020?
The unrelenting pursuit of profit is, unsurprisingly, not what consumers consider businesses to be good for. Profit is increasingly seen as a negative word, while 52% of consumers think it’s ‘very important’ that a brand proactively makes the world a better place.
Actions like treating employees well, improving on sustainability, and helping the most vulnerable are expected of brands. Meanwhile, “virtue signalling” is seen as far less important than positive action.
Consumers also trust brands and employers more than the government in key areas like Covid-19 safety measures. This puts a huge responsibility on businesses to communicate and act responsibly to keep people safe.
As discussed above, this support around Covid-19 is expected to be provided by brands for a long while yet (into 2021). And key issues like sustainability and diversity and inclusion are seeing more and more consumer interest. If companies don’t go beyond performative support and take part in effective action, they should expect a backlash.
All of this adds up to one important point: Consumers care about the action businesses take and are vocal in what they want and need.
To get through 2020 and thrive beyond it, businesses must listen.
We used social data in various ways in this report:
Profit data: We searched for mentions of profit (and variants like profits, profited) from July 2019 to July 2020. We then used Brandwatch’s benchmarking tool to compare this date range to the year before to see how sentiment and emotion driven mentions had changed. This data covered all our data sources, from Twitter to Reddit to news sites and beyond.
Adidas data: We searched for mentions of Adidas specifically on Twitter from July 2019 – July 2020 using Brandwatch Consumer Research. We used AI assistant Iris to identify what was driving peaks in conversation. Iris showed us that the #ChangeIsATeam sport hashtag was behind the largest spike, so we searched within Adidas mentions to find out what the emotion behind those tweets was.
Diversity and inclusion data: We searched for mentions of ‘diversity and inclusion’ or ‘inclusion and diversity’ across all our social media sources from July 2018 to July 2020. For the chart above, we broke the data down by week and assigned scores from 1-100 for each week. A score of 100 represents the point in time when there were most mentions, and all other scores are relative to that. That meant we could compare interest on social media with interest on search.
We surveyed just over 7,000 adults across the US, Mexico, Australia, Singapore, the UK, France, Spain, and Germany using our mobile survey tool Brandwatch Qriously. Qriously replaces ads on mobile apps with survey questions.
We used Google Trends to look at how people were searching for specific keywords over time. The interest score of 100 represents the point in time that search interest was highest, and all other scores are relative to that point.