Trust is down. Expectations are up. According to a recent global study by BBMG and GlobeScan, for the first time since 2009, more consumers say they have punished companies for their behavior (28%) rather than rewarded them (26%).

The fact that consumers expect companies to be responsible is not new. But according to the 2017 study, Brand Purpose in Divided Times, while 65% of consumers want to support companies with a strong purpose, their trust in global companies is negative. Less than half (45%) can name one single company that makes “a positive difference in society through its products, services and operations.”

Mind the ‘brand purpose’ gap

That leads to a brand purpose gap, in this case of 20%, which provides a great opportunity for brands to step up and connect with their consumers.

So how might you as brands build relevance and resilience during these times of low trust?

Trust is the oxygen of the economy.

Eric Whan, Director Globescan

The study outlines four design principles intended to help you do just that. You can read about them in detail in the study, but here we highlight two of them and give you a couple of examples where working with UTZ can help you leverage your brand or company’s sustainable sourcing strategy to connect with your consumers.

Start with empathy: people at the center

At UTZ we put farmers at the center of our program. By empowering them to be better farmers, businessmen, they produce a better product, and enjoy a better life. Their benefit is also your benefit.

Your company buys a product grown according to the UTZ standard, meaning it’s grown with care for people and the environment. Therefore by sourcing UTZ products you are also contributing to this. While this might only be one part of your strategy, it can go a long way.

Define your story and connect with your consumers. Your brand purpose can go further than meeting your consumers’ individual needs and can have a deeper connection with their daily lives beyond purchasing a product.

Take a stand on something that matters         

The core idea behind this is to find a topic that strongly relates to the essence of your brand and then invite people to join you. Whether it is an environmental issue like climate change or a social issue like child labor, find something that is important to you and build a compelling story to engage your consumers. When done well, this can really build brand equity and loyalty among consumers as you take them along on your journey.

Once you have defined the topic, see how that overlaps with the benefits of UTZ and use our content and tools to create a credible and engaging story.

We all want the same things

Girl resting in a meadow

Operating in an environment of dynamic change and challenges is not an easy task for brands these days. The research shows that fundamentally we, as humans, all want the same things (health and well-being, financial security, meaningful relationships and a sense of purpose), and brands need to connect with consumers on that level.

What is clear is that understanding the challenges and shifting aspirations of your consumers is essential to create more meaningful relationships, more loyalty and ultimately drive business growth.

So, what will you do differently to tell your sustainability story and engage your consumers?