Consumer passions fueling positioning strategies

Dec 7, 2020

“Be a cause, not just a business. Have a higher mission.”
Philip Kotler

They are everywhere – socially and politically evoked passions.  Social media, broadcast news, and even storylines woven into our sitcoms and movies – literally everywhere we turn, subtle or overt, passions are publicized and politicized. Especially true of American young adults 18-29, who stepped up significantly to the ballot boxes this year as compared to 2016, passions and social beliefs are on full display.  And beyond the polls, rallies and awareness campaigns are prevalent. 

Noticeably, brands are taking stock of the concerns and issues, ala passions, demonstrated among young adults. Have you noticed brands who posture and share their position on things like ecology, diversity, individuality, equality, made local, fair trade, for example?  While we have every reason to believe these positions are truly near and dear to the heart of these organizations, they’ve also done their research and have identified the issues that target audiences are passionate about, the learning from which often drives decisions about giving voice to specific topics and issues. Very strategic indeed, the effectiveness of emotionally significant and core beliefs alignment marketing. 

As young adults become more publicly expressive about their personal passions, and observably engaged in social issues, these activities are being carefully watched, measured, and considered by marketers. Among the greatest of resources to mine, monitor, and measure sentiment is social media. This heart-beat intel is shaping consumer alignment strategies. Additionally, custom research studies are conducted with more laser-like segment, category, and/or brand specificity.  

An example hot topic (no play on words intended) is climate change, especially among Generation Z. According to a 2019 Future of Humanity survey, two in five respondents between the age of 18 and 25 identify climate change as the largest issue facing the world. Brands with young adult appeal who attribute energy to this issue, like Ben and Jerry’s, Lush Cosmetics, and Patagonia have gone as far as to close stores in a show of solidarity for last year’s global climate strike. Other issues important to both Gen Z and Millennials are human rights and animal welfare. Brands like Patagonia, Adidas, and Outerknown have aligned with human rights issues, and restaurants, retailers, and distributors, have aligned with their support on animal welfare issues.   

It’s hard to argue about the importance of corporate consciousness. Organizations that take a stance in the spirit of what’s ethical now or important for our future are by and large viewed as doing so from a heart-felt greater good position. Whether all the issues are important to all, some certainly are to a great many, and it is the great many that becomes compelling to marketers.  

When a company’s core existence values align with a large and growing consumer interest, that “alignment” may either be an intentional research-driven strategy or serendipity, or both.   

Which brands do you find yourself more apt to support and purchase from because of some type of connection you feel you share? Which brands do you find yourself not supporting, intentionally not buying their products, because you don’t align with what they stand for?  Wise brands are doing this type of consumer research with us and, the findings are effectively guiding their positioning and marketing strategies. 

~ Marketing Workshop