Start thinking about your organisation as a citizen of the world
Now more than ever, consumers are recognising that an ever-widening marketplace is presenting genuine choice, and with it, a greater degree of consumer power than ever before.
And with this trend on track to increase exponentially thanks to digitization, social media and its amplification of the individual voice, a brand’s values can no longer be solely top-down and self-determined, but instead must be considered in accordance with the values of their target audience.
There is staggering evidence to suggest that the way brands are responding to issues faced by society today has a direct impact on whether or not a consumer will choose to form a connection with them.
Communications specialists Cone report that “87% [of consumers] will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about and 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs”
In their annual Millennial survey, Deloitte found that Millennials and Gen Zs are “aligning spending and career choices with their values, and driving change on societal issues that matter most to them. In turn, they expect institutions like businesses and governments to do more to help bring about their vision of a better future.”
One study even suggests “up to 87% of millennials and 94% of Gen Z expect companies to address pressing social and environmental issues.”
In light of these statistics, how can an organisation begin to understand its consumer’s concerns and align with them to form genuine connections?
The challenges at hand
It’s crucial to recognise that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to what motivates your target audience, or what their values might be. The individuation of the consumer carries with it its own inherent challenge; that each individual will inevitably be slightly different.
However, tracking key trends can help brands to understand the general market landscape, and begin to craft a marketing strategy capable of truly engaging their audiences.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, planetary and societal wellbeing are high on the list of consumer priorities, with climate change, diversity and equal opportunity frequently ranking amongst the highest.
Beyond these generalities, harnessing the power of data can endow an organisation with real time, actionable information about their consumer’s feelings and intent.
Once an organisation is equipped with this information, the question becomes: how do we now form meaningful connections with our consumers, colleagues and brand fans?
Corporate Citizenship: what is it and why is it important?
Acknowledging the role of an organisation’s CSR measures in influencing the habits of consumers is a vital first step. But it’s not enough to incorporate compliant CSR policies into your existing strategy. Brands must make their impact on society a driving force behind their operations. This is where the notion of corporate citizenship comes in.
Alessandra Cavalluzzi, author of A Million Dollars In Change: How to Engage Your Employees, Attract Top Talent, and Make the World a Better Place, defines corporate citizenship as “a company holding itself accountable for the social, financial and environmental impact it has on the community—and society in general—and this broad term encompasses a wide variety of actions from business operations to corporate philanthropy.”
In other words, in order to form meaningful relationships with audience members, an organisation has to live their values alongside them in all facets of its operations. In that ‘living’, the organisation itself can come to life – as a corporate citizen – facing and resisting the same challenges as its audience. Not another complicit corporation, but an ally in action. A brand with which a meaningful connection can be made, values authentically shared and a better future brought about.
The MCI group’s own corporate citizenship is enshrined in our desire to shape and share the future. We believe that when people come together, connection, innovation and ultimately progress can happen. The kind of work we strive to do is all about facilitating these breakthrough moments and meaningful connections.
Our recent 2020 IAPCO Conference & General Assembly for example, led by our team at MCI Canada, was 100% plastic free. From stainless steel bottles and electric event transportation, through to paper bags and badges and Ocean Wise seafood, we helped IAPCO to embody their values, and their role as a conscientious corporate citizen.
In turn, attendees were able to feel their own values and concerns were being met, making the conference an authentic space through which they could form meaningful connections and breakthrough moments with IAPCO, and one another.
As consumers become increasingly conscious of CSR factors such as the environment, diversity and equal opportunity, it’s vital brands consider their wider role in society as an essential part of their identity, as well as their marketing strategy, in order to foster and maintain the kind of meaningful engagements their customers and employees have come to expect.
To live and embody your values authentically as a corporate citizen is to humanise your brand, therefore facilitating genuine, lasting connections akin to those made between any like-minded citizen of the world.
To find out how the mci group can help your organisation craft its corporate citizenship strategy,
Call +41 22 33 99 500 or Email: email@example.com