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insights thought leadership 12.19.2022

how brands can credibly drive real change

Choreograph’s Brand Purpose study explores consumer attitudes and behaviors toward a variety of social causes, and what the impact and implications mean for brands.

Michael Liddle
michael liddle
senior insight manager, audience origin

Across the globe, social consciousness is on the rise, and today’s consumers are expecting brands to offer a point of view, and in many cases, take a stand on a broad range of issues. Think: climate change, mental health, social inequality. The question for marketers is how can brands meet these consumer expectations and authentically support a cause, while continuing to create brand value.

Choreograph helps brands to answer this question in its latest Brand Purpose study. Leveraging insights from over 25,000 consumers across 25 markets globally, this report offers an in-depth look into what consumers believe brands should stand for, and how brands can turn their support of social and environmental causes into meaningful consumer connections.

causes that matter most

Our findings show that awareness of and support for societal issues is widespread, with climate change ranking highest in importance. Healthcare availability, pollution and mental health were next in line – though mental health ranked second among younger respondents.

top causes

Top causes

Globally, the number one social cause that people are concerned about is climate change (57% state it is important to them and 37% rank it in the top 3 causes that they are most passionate about).

Consumer purchase and usage decisions are also heavily influenced by the desire to align to a cause, with 39% of respondents having already made a personal lifestyle change. This offers significant growth opportunities for brands who are authentic and transparent in their support.

what is sustainability?


Top of mind associations of which actions best describe sustainable business practices.

consumers are watching

Having a meaningful and credible brand purpose is now a “must have.”

Our research shows that 69% of consumers believe brands should have a clear and transparent point of view on wider societal issues; while 56% also believe that most brands are exploiting these issues purely for their own gain. The challenge brands face is not about getting involved but getting involved the right way.

expectations for brands

Expectations for brands

Brands need to clearly show that they are not driven by selling more products. Simply jumping on the bandwagon at pertinent times has the potential to be poorly regarded.

Our study underlines the importance of a more thoughtful approach and long-term support of a cause, as being more credible (65%) than simply jumping in on current topics. Take brands on social media that receive backlash for rainbow washing during Pride month, while failing to support the LBGTQ+ community come July.

The key takeaways: Get involved early; choose relevant causes; be authentic in your support; and back it up financially.

To learn more about our findings and how to best advise clients on brand purpose, reach out to our Audience Origin team.

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