In the absence of tangible product differences, the marketing of ethics and the social responsibility dimension of a brand can tip consumer choice in favour of your brand.
A trend that was started by iconoclast Anita Roddick (who successfully positioned her BODY SHOP as against the excesses of the beauty industry) is only now hitting an immense range of products categories and brands in Europe from airlines, retail to chocolate, confectionery, beverages.
Consumers want to feel good about their purchases and ethics is a way for brand owners to connect at a deeper level and create a feel good factor.
The UK has been a leader. Tesco has been leading the way actively taking responsibility for the wellbeing of the consumer with a website and outlet packed with health and wellbeing messages. Even some financial institutions are getting in on the act – talking about a fairer society and going back to old style values of helping children save for their future.
Carbon emissions feature in a grab for the consumer with British Airways promising in consumer ads to increase carbon efficiency by 25% protecting our environment (and delivering a sustainable future for our children).
Fruit based drinks like Innocent are healthy plus offer ‘a healthy slice of do good’ in that they give away 10% of their profits every year to charitable causes. They pay a premium for fruit from farms with the highest ethical accreditation such as the Rainforest Alliance.
Devine milk chocolate ‘is like a whirlwind but rather more ethical’. According to the brand: Divine chocolate is made with the finest cocoa from farmers who co-own the company and because the cocoa is fairtrade, they get a guaranteed income while you get guaranteed pleasure.
The success of Green and Black chocolate attests to the compelling appeal of bringing a VALUES CLUSTER together – in this instance: Fair trade and organic.
In our research at INSIDE STORY we have identified an ethics based VALUES CLUSTER that consists of three key elements: Fairness, safety (including health and wellbeing) and kindness.
This ethically based values cluster (all three or at least two or them) is underpinning the appeal of many successful products. Brands are going beyond just ‘healthy’ to a cluster of values delivering more impact on consumer choice.