Is 2020 the decade of brands as platforms for change?

Christy Hogan Hutchinson Branding, Customer & Market Insights, Marketing Strategy & Planning, Strategy

According to Nielsen, Gen Z now comprises 26% of the media audience. And Magnani’s own proprietary research with Gen Z’s show members of this generation believe that they have been dealt a hard hand in comparison to previous generations. They are concerned about large and complicated global issues, such as climate change and gun violence. And are very aware that the actions they (and we all) take today will impact their future.

Looking more broadly at consumer behavior trends, Mintel research shows that consumers want to feel respected, protected and supported. And they look to communicate brands that express oneself and their place and beliefs in society. This research reinforces that social and self-expressive benefits are superseding traditional functional brand benefits.

Brands clearly aren’t human and can’t truly “care for” a cause, but they can stand for one. And brands – and the marketers who drive them – have the ability to use their brand as a platform to drive change and build better experiences with consumers.

It’s a good bet that as Gen Z increases its buying potential, they’ll put their money where their beliefs are. Marketers, innovators and disruptors need to understand product features or enhancements that reinforce the brand promise and the company mission can create these self-expressive brand platforms. Ultimately acting as an agent for change: whether that means utilizing less water in product manufacturing to giving back to reducing waste to landfill. If done authentically, this careful consideration in creating and managing brands and creating brand platforms that stand for something will not only build loyalty but increase sales in the decade to come.

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