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How your brand values impact your customers' purchasing decisions

The importance of communicating positive brand values and dealing well with crises is highlighted by recent report from PR firm Hotwire High-Stakes Leadership in a post B2B World, which claims that more than two-thirds (68%) of consumers say their personal values influence what they buy, with almost half (40%) dropping brands whose values they disapprove of. ​The top issues which cause them to ditch brands include the environment, Brexit and a lack of transparency.

Key findings

  • Nearly half (40%) of consumers have already walked away from brands they think have violated their personal values
  • Less than half (47%) of marketing leaders in the UK are very or quite worried about a crisis events
  • The majority (77%) of business decision makers and consumers (78%) would stop working with a business which handled a crisis issue poorly

A key time when a brand’s ethics are highlighted is during a crisis situation, yet marketing leaders in the UK are less concerned about crisis issues and events than the global average. Less than half (47%) are very or quite worried about a potential crisis.

Discussing the findings of the study, Matt Cross, B2B, EMEA at Hotwire, says that it is important brands communicate often about what they stand for: ““More than ever these days, brands recognise that consumers want companies to express clearly defined values that align with their own. However, many businesses are not living and communicating their values regularly enough. Our report found that 82% of consumers would consider dropping a brand associated with a partner or supplier that handled a high stakes issue in a way that violated their values.

“But it is not just businesses at risk from consumers. Businesses will also end relationships with other firms if they mishandle high-stakes issues – 65% would end a relationship within a week and 24% within a day!”

Cross says it is important for brands to work out exactly what their values are: “We found that only 50% of businesses have defined and implemented specific values, which in itself makes it very tough to respond to customers when your own company’s values are not written down.

“It is imperative upon business leaders and their marketing staff to be prepared to respond on high-stakes issues that could violate the personal values of their customers. They need to bring their core values to the centre of the conversations they are having with stakeholders.”

As Cross concludes: “These days everybody is listening and watching”.


Hotwire adopted a triple-pronged approach, conducting separate surveys amongst three distinct groups: 658 CMOs and senior communications executives at B2B and B2C companies; 688 general business decision makers at B2B and B2C companies; and 6,218 consumers.

These surveys were carried out by Sapio Research across eight countries (Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, UK, US) and designed to generate both global and locally-specific findings. All interviews were conducted online during December 2018 and January 2019.

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