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40% of Consumers Want Purposeful Brands, Yet Half Cannot Name a Single One

Image credit: BBMG

Representing 40 percent of the global public, Aspirationals are defined by their love of shopping, desire for responsible consumption, and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society. They are among the most likely to “support companies and brands that have a purpose of making a positive difference in society through their products, services, and operations.” Yet, according to a survey of 21,000 consumers across 21 countries, only half can think of a single company as having a strong purpose in this way.

The survey, conducted by consultancies BBMG and GlobeScan in the first quarter of 2016, provides new insights into a spectrum of consumer segments including highly committed Advocates (22 percent of consumers globally in 2016), style- and social status-seeking Aspirationals (40 percent), price- and performance-minded Practicals (29 percent), and the less engaged Indifferents (9 percent).

“Aspirational consumers are looking for brands to stand for something bigger than product benefits. They want brands to embody an inspiring ethos, to bring a strong point of view, and take action to make a positive impact in the world,” said Raphael Bemporad, founding partner at BBMG. “However, half of the world’s Aspirationals cannot name a single brand that reflects this deeper sense of purpose.



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“This ‘brand purpose gap’ provides a major opportunity for brands to win by placing a higher purpose at the core of who they are and what they do.”

The research showed that 84 percent of Aspirational consumers find shopping exciting compared to 58 percent of all consumers, but they have strong preferences for purposeful brands that make a positive difference in society. 74 percent of Aspirationals claim they try to support such brands, and 90 percent claim they are “willing to pay more for products produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way,” compared to 65 percent of all consumers on both counts. They are also positive influencers: nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) say they encourage others to buy from socially and environmentally responsible companies, compared to and 63 percent of all consumers. Paired with the finding that 8 in 10 (79 percent) Aspirationals are eager to learn more about the ways that companies are trying to be more socially and environmentally responsible, there is a big opportunity for brands to effectively share their stories.

Demographically, Aspirational consumers are most likely to be between the ages of 18 and 54; among the Millennial (47 percent) and GenX (34 percent) generations, compared to 42 percent and 35 percent in the general population, respectively.

“Brands have good reason to place purpose at the center of their value proposition, as Aspirationals are notably more trusting of companies than others and more open to brands with a bold vision of the future,” said Eric Whan, Director at GlobeScan. “It’s a ripening opportunity, so long as brands align authentically with Aspirationals’ social and environmental values.”

The opportunity is particularly strong in emerging markets: Countries with the largest populations of Aspirational consumers include Nigeria (58 percent), India (53 percent), China (52 percent), South Africa (52 percent), Indonesia (51 percent), Ghana (49 percent), Peru (49 percent), Kenya (44 percent), and Brazil (42 percent). In developed markets, countries with the largest Aspirational populations include Canada (42 percent), the United Kingdom, (41 percent), Russia (41 percent), Greece (40 percent), Spain (37 percent), and the United States (36 percent).


Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]


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