To stay competitive in 2020 brands need to stand for something meaningful if they are to stand out in a competitive market, Social Mission director, Dora Nikols says. Citing the 2019 Havas Meaningful Brands Global Study which had 350,000 respondents from 31 countries, consumers have a higher intent to purchase from brands which make the world a better place with 77 percent of consumers stating that they prefer to buy from companies who share the same values as them.

“Before, we were living in the digital revolution where companies scrambled to get onto social media. But with all this digital noise, consumers are now feeling overwhelmed and have their filters on and are now looking for brands that add meaning to their life. They want to support brands that reflect their values and want to know that their purchase makes a difference, because it makes them feel good and it also makes choosing easy. The most valuable asset a company can develop right now is trust within its community.

“This is why one of the biggest trends that will drive business in 2020 is having a meaningful social purpose, especially in the competitive and crowded retail and appliance space where there is so much to choose from. Not only does having a social purpose help create a strong competitive advantage but it leads to growth and wins the hearts, minds and emotions of your audience. But you must be authentic and you must get it right.

“So what is social purpose? It goes beyond corporate social responsibility where you simply donate to charity or run a short-term marketing campaign. Instead it is when you identify one key problem or issue you and your customers care about and you work to solve it for the long-term. You turn your business culture into one that wants to do good. This then leads your PR and marketing campaigns and transforms your business culture so staff stay engaged and customers stay loyal.

According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand report, two in three people choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stance on social issues. While a recent YouGov study found 87 per cent of Australians think business has a responsibility to do social good. Further, 55 per cent would recommend a brand that gives even a small portion of its annual profits to charity.

“Consumers want other people to know what they stand for through what they choose to consume. This is why TOMS shoes has become a global hit with conscious consumers. Each time you buy a pair of shoes a pair is donated to a child in need. To date they have donated 95 million pairs of shoes worth over $600 million.

“In the US, LG Electronics introduced its ‘Life’s Good: Experience Happiness’ Back-to-School Initiative. They have a five-year commitment to bring sustainable happiness to 5.5 million youth. This unique campaign was created when it was discovered by the Psychological Association that kids are the most stressed in the country during their first day back at school they are feeling anxious.

“The initiative partners with ‘Project Happiness’ and teaches youth the six sustainable happiness skills that include; mindfulness, human connection, positive outlook, purpose, generosity and gratitude. LG asks school kids and their parents to share their back-to-school stories and set goals for the new school year. They post their story on social media with the hashtag #LGgoals and #Day1 which is succeeding in building massive goodwill for the brand.”