Hotwire research says 52% of Aussie consumers are swayed by a brand's social + political stance

HOT003_theIssueWithBrands_V3.jpg52% of Australian consumers make their purchasing decisions based on a brand's stance on social or political issues, according to recent research commissioned by Hotwire, the global PR and communications agency.

Conducted by The Digital Edge in June 2017, the survey garnered responses from more than 1,500 Australian consumers aged between 18-74.

According to the survey, the top 3 social and political issues that have the greatest impact on consumer purchasing decisions are:

·         Fair Trade (39%)
·         Global warming (34%)
·         Animal cruelty (34%)
While 16% of respondents said they are more likely to buy from a brand if their views align with their own, a further 11% said they would encourage their peers to buy from that brand if their views were aligned as well. Furthermore, 23% said they are less likely to purchase with a brand who had misaligned views with their own, and a further 6% said they'd also discourage their peers from buying from that brand.

Considering overall responses, older respondents were indifferent to brands taking a stance on social or political issues in comparison to younger respondents who had a tendency to buy from brands based on value alignment.

Says Mylan Vu, country manager, Hotwire Australia: "With more brands joining political discussions on topics from fair trade to racism, it's important to recognise how this will resonate with consumers and their purchasing decisions. While more senior generations are preferring brands stay out of political debates, millennials - our future business, economic and political leaders - are wanting brands to engage more and will actually change how they spend their money accordingly. Brands without a stance on core political and social issues need to get off the fence if they're interested in engaging with and making money from future generations."

Consumers are also interested in hearing about certain issues over others from particular brands. For example, 25% of Australians are interested in knowing BHP Billiton's stance on global warming, while over 1 in 5 want to know Apple's (22%), Samsung's (21%), and Qantas' (21%) stance on fair trade.
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Findings based on research conducted by The Digital Edge and commissioned by Hotwire Australia as part of The Issue with Brands report

Overall, 1 in 4 Australians would like to know a brand's stance on sexism (26%) and same sex marriage (23%).

Says Lee Naylor, managing director for The Leading Edge Asia Pacific: "Given all the talk about how to appeal to millennials, it will become more important for brands to connect with them on issues that they feel strongly about. This will be a difficult balancing act to get right and will prompt a backlash if seen as disingenuous."


The trouble with research said:

Researcher asks someone 'What's more important to you? Saving dolphins or saving a few cents on your tuna?"

Without blinking, the person says 'Dolphins!" (Everyone does. They even believe it when they say it).

But follow that person down the canned goods aisle half an hour later where brand B, which features a dead mother dolphin surrounded by crying baby dolphins on its label, is 50c a can cheaper, and the dolphins are proper fucked.

That's the tricky thing with consumers. We buy with our wallets first, heads second and hearts a distant third.

But we answer questions the other way round, because there's no skin in the game, and answering with our hearts first makes us look like better people - to ourselves as much as to others.

It's easy to lob a pie when Qantas gets behind same sex marriage (if that goes against your personal beliefs). It's much more difficult to choose a less convenient schedule or a more expensive flight when you're sitting on Webjet a few hours later.

Take this sort of research with a pinch of salt, because it's simply not true.

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