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When I first read the BuzzFeed article, “Patagonia Is Refusing To Sell Its Iconic Power Vests To Some Financial Firms,” I thought it may have been an April Fool’s Day prank. But, this move actually seems right up Patagonia’s alley.
I’ve commented previously on Patagonia’s take on political positions and applauded how they’ve aligned socially responsible issues with their brand values. Even on their website, anyone can see that they are clearly “the activist company” for their mission to improve sustainability and environmental impact. And, they live that mission day in and day out.
So, it makes sense that Patagonia may shun their association with this unofficial finance bro uniform in favor of co-branding partners that uphold their brand values and dedication to the environment.
But, this move speaks to a larger concept around audience: Users respect brands who stick to doing business with customers and partners that uphold their values.
Brand Values Matter to Buyers
According to a recent study, 64 percent of consumers worldwide will buy or shun a brand because of its beliefs. And, this is a growing trend across the globe, with noticeable increases from the last year of 12-21 percent across major markets, including the US, UK, Germany and Japan, and a 13 percent increase globally.
Not only is this value-based buying behavior on the rise, consumers want to see more of it. The same study found that 60 percent of consumers want brands to make it easier for them to see what their values are.
Brand values are clearly becoming an important component in purchase decisions, so brands would do well to listen to their audiences and uphold values that align with them and their brand’s mission – just as Patagonia has shown time and time again. And, it would seem that their communications teams would do well to message those values more, too!
The Same Goes for PR
In the world of PR, a similar value-based conversation often happens, but instead of it being between brands and buyers, it turns to PR agencies and clients.
Agencies make choices to do business (or not) with brands every day, and it’s important that the type of brands your agency works with not only align with your specialties, industries and services, but also your agency values.
I’ve had tech clients refuse to sign new customers in certain industries (e.g. adult entertainment), and had PR agency leads turn down new business after an anonymous poll showed staff would be ethically opposed to working with the company (e.g. a cigarette manufacturer).
Turning down business due to insufficient budget or a lack of things to work with is one thing, but turning down a new client because of their values or stance on social or political issues is another. It can often be a tough choice, but ultimately will reap more rewards in terms of creating a supportive, unified agency culture, while also demonstrating a priority for your people, which is a PR agency’s greatest asset.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help shape and push your brand values through our PR and marketing, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page.Get PR tips and tricks straight into your mailbox