ESG is a main consideration for investors today, but how much does it matter to the consumer? Some research suggests that products that promote responsible environmental and social practices are increasingly in demand. CivicScience data has shown that a large percentage of U.S. consumers do care about a company’s practices and ethics. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they think companies should readily align themselves with social and political causes.

What can marketers learn from consumer opinions as we head into 2024, when election cycle tensions are bound to heat up?

A brand’s “social consciousness” remains important at the close of 2023. 

A key question that CivicScience has been tracking for years shows that consumers generally find that the “social consciousness and overall kindness” of a brand is at least somewhat influential when it comes to their purchasing decisions. Roughly 1-in-3 U.S. adults say it’s ‘very important,’ which has been trending upward since the fall of 2023.

How should brands navigate social and political issues?

Consumers have more specific opinions, however, on how brands should handle social and political issues. The majority of U.S. adults agree that brands should stay away from aligning with or supporting social issues, while around 30% have no opinion on the matter. This majority opinion has increased throughout the year, now at 55%, which is three points higher than last December.

However, when it comes down to it, consumers want to support brands that resonate with them. CivicScience data also show that just over 50% of consumers agree that they would “switch to brands that share my values.” That said, ‘values’ don’t necessarily mean social issues or political causes – data from earlier this year found that a company’s transparency and trustworthiness, as well as its employee treatment, were far more important to consumers than supporting causes. Values could also relate to quality and level of customer care and service, something CivicScience will be exploring more deeply in 2024.

Every marketer should know – switching brands is something most consumers are ready to do.

Even those consumers who consider themselves to be ‘very’ loyal to their favorite brands are, in fact, the most likely to switch brands if the brand’s values no longer resonate with them.

Some consumers are more or less likely to be value-driven brand switchers. For example, Americans over age 55 and Republicans over-index as willing to switch brands based on values, while Gen Z adults and Hispanic Americans under-index. (To learn more about where your target audience sits on these topics, get in touch.)

Are these trends likely to shift in the coming year with the 2024 presidential election? Get ahead of the curve now with the CivicScience 2024 Election Mindset Tracker, designed to help brands large and small navigate the year ahead.

CivicScience helps marketing teams to:

+ Stay ahead of rapidly changing consumer preferences
+ Track and navigate disruption from challenger brands 
+ Visualize a 360-degree view of consumers through demographic, behavioral, cultural, & other contextual metrics
+ Quickly and easily gain insights and turn data into compelling presentations
+ Stay current with how consumers are using mixed reality (MR) technology 

Our clients include:

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“CivicScience surfaced the one game-changing insight that our army of analysts, consultants, and agencies couldn’t find.” David Feick, VP of Insights, T-Mobile