How your company responds to today’s social issues are increasingly important in your audience’s decision to support your business (whether that be purchasing your product, retaining their membership or donating to your organization, etc. ). This has been a fascinating subject to watch, as two or three years ago, these subjects were a much smaller level of importance for most audiences compared to today. People now expect the businesses they purchase from and support to align with their social and moral values. So, if you haven’t taken a stance yet, it may be time to. Let’s analyze some of the data that supports this claim, determine whether this is appropriate for your organization, and if it is, what topics are important to take a stance on.

Let’s first review a recent study by Clutch co, that was focused on a wide range of demographics and generations to see how their responses differed on various social causes. According to their survey of over 400 consumers:

  • 75% of people are likely to start shopping at a company that supports an issue they agree with.
  • Only 44% of people say price is among the most important attributes of a company compared to environmentally-friendly business practices (71%), social responsibility (68%), and giving back to the local community (68%).
  • 29% of people think that businesses support social movements to earn money.
  • 70% of Generation Xers (ages 35-54) and 54% of millennials (ages 18-34) are likely to stop shopping at a company that supports an issue they disagree with. Only 37% of baby boomers (ages 55+) take this same stance.

So clearly, today’s consumers view social and environmental responsibility as a key factor of whether they’ll support your business. This last statistic is perhaps the most surprising, and what’s changed the most overtime. Baby Boomers are still the least phased when it comes to aligning their purchasing decisions with their moral beliefs, but Gen Xers have responded in the opposite – and increased this alignment significantly compared to a few years ago.

Seeing that only 29% of people see a business supporting a social movement as a way to make money is also an assuring statistic here. Few people see it as purely a way to increase profits, which makes sense, especially understanding another key finding in this survey worth noting:

  • More than half of people (59%) are likely to stop shopping at a company that supports an issue they disagree with.

It takes bravery to stand up for what you believe in, whether as a business, as a fellow human, and when you need to make a decision as both. Which leads us into the question, is it important for you to take a stance and share where you stand?

To answer this – there’s two questions you need to ask yourself: How well do you know your audience, and is it morally important for you, personally, to respond to this.

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Knowing Your Audience

Understanding what generation your primary audience is a part of is a key starting point on predicting how your audience would respond to your stance on a particular social or environmental issue.

If your audience is primarily made up of Baby Boomers, then it may not be worth taking a stance on an issue, if you’re only doing it to assure your audience that your moral values align with theirs.
Adversely, if your audience is primarily made up of millennials, than taking a stance on an issue could be the last push needed to get new members of your audience to convert themselves into loyal customers.

Your audience’s political affiliation is also going to play an important part in this, considering social issues often become separated by our countries political divide.

Ask Yourself: Does it Matter to you?

While it’s important to understand who your audience is and where they land on the political, economic and geographic spectrum in order to help predict how they’ll react to your message, ultimately, this boils down to you and your companies values.

Ask yourself, how important is this topic to you? Do you see climate change as a real threat to people’s way of life and the health of our planet? Do you see the injustices and mistreatment imposed on people of color around the world as immoral?

If these, or other global/local issues are important to you, now would be the time to share your stance on them. While it may alienate some of your audience, it has a better chance today to awaken new ones than it ever has before.

People aren't just taking notice of how companies are responding to today's social and environmental issues, they're expecting them to take a stance. Data is showing this is becoming an extremely important factor in people's decision making, and that isn't likely to change any time soon. Determining if this is right for you will be a question around who your audience is, but more importantly, it's a question for the leaders within your company, and whether or not it's important for you to make a statement.