Consumer Purchase Intent More than Doubles When Socially Conscious Brands Engage Advertising Media Partners that Share Common Values, According to UM’s Future Impact Study

by UM

New Research Reveals Causal Effect Between Brand Social Values and Increased Business Performance

UM, the global media agency network of IPG Mediabrands, today released its groundbreaking “Future Impact” study, which highlights the importance of socially responsible practices and values — including integrity, equity and sustainability — on consumer decision making, with consumer purchase intent more than doubling when socially conscious brands engage advertising media partners that share common values. The study also highlights how cultural dynamics affect the importance of socially conscious media partners.

“Our Future Impact Study drives home the fact that an authentic commitment to social values and finding partners that share those values is beyond an obligation — it’s a business catalyst,” said Deidre Smalls-Landau, EVP, Managing Director, Mediabrands Identity. “This project was born out of a commitment to supporting the reality that companies doing social good is smart business. Brands will now be able to make more informed decisions and allocate their dollars to see higher purchase intent while supporting the causes that are important to them, and to consumers.”

The Future Impact study set out to understand how a brand’s commitment to sustainability, equity and integrity impacts consumer purchase intent, as well as brand perception when advertisers focus their ads on media partners that engaged in responsible media practices. Key findings include:

  • Purchase intent more than doubles when socially conscious brands engage advertising media partners that share common values
  • When a brand embodies all three values of integrity, sustainability and equity, there is a 75 percent increase in purchase intent
  • Brands that support environmental and equity values in the workplace and in media will see 2X the impact in purchase intent
  • Brands that support sustainability and integrity values alongside media partnerships mirroring the same values provide the most efficient lift in purchase intent
  • Brands that score low on responsibility metrics cannot improve their performance simply by advertising on media partners with higher responsibility metrics; rather brands must evolve their practices and commitment to social values to see increased results
  • Investing in sustainable, environmentally conscious media partners matters across all age groups

“Engaging in responsible media practices and supporting social values is not only the right thing to do, there is a clear and strong business case for it,” said UM US CEO, W. Joe DeMiero. “As the agency committed to helping our clients’ achieve brand growth, it’s extremely valuable to be able to prove how influential a commitment to social issues and values is to a business’s bottom line.”

The methodology for The Future Impact study included a survey of 5,000 participants around a variety of randomized household brands, media partners and social value attributes in various scenarios. Researchers then modeled the combinations to predict results, analyze decision drivers and create a simulation tool that enabled them to shift factors to see the impact on purchase intent as social values either increased or decreased.

The Future Impact study is the first phase of the project. Phase two, currently underway, will include integration into buying and planning as part of a broader solution to enable marketers to optimize ad dollar spend while maintaining a strong commitment to promoting integrity, equity and sustainability and working with responsible media partners.

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