Glow has released the findings from its Social Responsibility Score (SRS) brand-level diagnostic & tracker, revealing consumer perceptions of over 500 brands across the US, UK, and Australian markets to reveal what consumers currently prioritise in today’s markets.
Research-technology business Glow first started tracking what consumers think about ESG issues in relation to purchasing decisions over two years ago. It began with a field of approximately 40 issues that, through multiple research studies across three markets (U.S., U.K. and Australia), were then synthesised into 13 ESG drivers of consumer priorities and perceptions.
The results produced a diagnostic tool called the Social Responsibility Score (SRS) that provides a rating to tell a company how it is perceived in its ESG efforts, but also where it stands in its industry and against its competitors.
ESG drivers differ across industries
The research showed the top concerns for consumers varied across industries. For example, Glow found that governance and social drivers are the biggest influences on ESG credentials in the health insurance industry in the US. In travel and tourism, on the other hand, US customers view all three divisions of environmental, social and governance factors as important for the sector to address.
What became evident was that drilling further down into age, gender, geography, and competition among brands is vital to determine the focus for programs and messaging to avoid spreading investment and resources too thin.
Continuing to zero in on consumer priorities
Price and quality are typically what lead consumer choices, but business leaders may be surprised at how strong sustainability has become for consumers looking for a safe harbour for their purchasing dollars, according to Glow data.
This is especially true in the food & grocery sector – where 1 in 2 US consumers have switched brands based on sustainability considerations, and 1 in 5 ranked ESG/sustainability as one of the top three drivers for deciding what brands to purchase.
Diving deeper to look at age segmentation, millennials prized ESG/sustainability even higher, with 1 in 3 such consumers rating it as one of their top three considerations, behind price and quality. Further, 10% of millennials rated ESG/sustainability as the top influencer of their purchase decisions, even more than price and quality, Glow found.
These findings demonstrate the importance of ESG initiatives and messaging to any company’s bottom line. To fail in listening and responding to consumers in this regard is to surrender profits and reputation to competitors that are willing to leverage the feedback.
Data and surveys give brands feedback continuously since the measurements can be taken over set time periods, in connection with program launches or in tandem with media campaigns.
“The response from people taking these surveys is actually very clear. You can understand what it is that’s driving the consumer response and what’s driving the metric you receive,” said Tim Clover, CEO of Glow. “It allows you to line up the programs you’re running with the different areas and ask, ‘Are these the programs we should be communicating?’ If so, to whom do we communicate and through which media?”
Alignment of ESG programs with consumer expectations, coupled with alignment of messaging to bring about positive public perception of those programs, creates a winning combination for brands.
The tools exist to know what ESG concerns consumers really care about. The decision to use those tools enables business leaders to enhance brand profitability while “doing the right thing.”
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