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Discovering the Me in We

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As brands, corporations and markets re-orient around Purpose, consumers are developing and demonstrating personal values amidst today’s persistent economic challenges and cultural upheaval. The 2012 goodpurpose® study revealed that 85% of survey respondents report being affected by the global recession, with a strong majority of US and Western Europe consumers reporting a high impact. As the disparity between the haves and have nots continue, more and more consumers are discovering the Me (personal need) in the We (the common good).

In Rapid Growth Economies, (RGEs) including China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE and Brazil, consumers are developing and demonstrating personal values within traditionally collectivist cultures. In these formerly developing markets consumers have historically been more aware of and closer to the reality of social issues – issues from poverty and hunger to health and education. With increased purchasing power and access to new opportunities and choices, our study found that these consumers desire to balance their personal gains with societal gains. Consumers from these markets have internalized this need for personal involvement with 78% responding they are personally involved in support a good casue, as well as responsibility, with 56% saying that responsibility of ‘people like you’ to address societal issues has increased over the past year.

However the story unfolds in a different perspective among the other markets studied in 2012 goodpurpose. As a result of shifting economic foundations, consumers in developed markets, such as Italy, France and the US, are finding themselves newly acquainted with personal need. Call it a reversal of Purpose fortune. 

In the US, charity no longer begins at home…it is now in the home. When it comes to societal issues, US consumers are most concerned about improving healthcare and alleviating hunger and homelessness. Not only are U.S. consumer concerns now centered around personal survival means, their motivation for addressing social issues are personal and community focused with the top motivating factors being ‘lives of friends and family would improve’ and ‘being personally affected by a societal issue’.  With crumbling reliance on institutions for addressing societal issues, US citizens are taking their grievances to the Street and their opinions to the Tweet. For the first time ever in the US, consumers believe “people like me” are the most responsible, bypassing both governments and corporations

44% of global consumers say that compared to five years ago, they now have more power and influence to make a difference. It’s a brave new world where the citizen consumer has been unleashed and empowered; companies, brands and governments beware.

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