What do you stand for? What defines your brand? What’s your mission?

Any business operating in today’s frantically-paced, always-on, ever-changing corporate environment should be able to answer these essential questions. And then be willing to discuss in an open and transparent way.

Why? Because all of us now expect more from businesses both big and small.

Gone are the days of winning over hearts and minds simply with flashy ad campaigns and catchy slogans. Social media has shifted the power, and consumers now crave corporate transparency and strong values from the brands they choose to engage with.

Companies and brands that can openly show a commitment to helping the world – in even the smallest of ways – should find themselves facing significantly less scrutiny when up against more guarded competitors.

The rise and rise of the conscious consumer

With global economic conditions continuing to place wallets under pressure, we’re seeing a rise in the number of ‘conscious consumers’ – prudent, informed shoppers that want to ensure their money is spent in the right way.

An Ethical Consumer report* found 53% of the UK’s population are choosing to avoid buying products and/or services over “concerns about ethical reputation,” while studies have also found** that people who spend more of their income on donations to charity – often at the expense of their own personal spending – are happier.

The signs seem to indicate that spending habits are changing, and that we’re beginning to witness a move away from an era of mass, disposable consumption. There’s now a real appetite for supporting ethical businesses with strong values.

The issues that conscious consumers care about these days range far and wide – from climate change to ethical sourcing to waste. But at their heart, these fundamentally centre around looking after our world: caring for others, doing what’s right, and protecting the planet.

And this can present a big opportunity for committed, ethical brands.

There are three key reasons why sharing your corporate values can be very valuable.

1. Positive news provokes discussion, advocacy and action

If your business operations revolve around a socially-responsible goal, then sharing your positive stories is a great way to extend the message and encourage others to get involved. Whether it’s by encouraging audiences to fundraise, contribute to an online petition, donate time to a research project or think twice about the ethics behind their shopping basket choices, positive PR can make a big difference.

2. People buy from people

Ultimately, most of us crave connection, especially in an ever-more-fragmented digital world. Publicly championing a positive cause can be a great way to unite audiences, but it also accomplishes something else – it provides your business with the opportunity to present a valuable human face. If your CEO or appointed key spokesperson is willing to go on record with why your company’s aim really matters to them at a personal level, this will go a long way in terms of encouraging others to also share the passion.

3. A point of difference helps you stand out

In crowded commercial landscapes, with multiple brands competing for shelf space and consumers’ time, it can be all too easy to become lost in the crowd. But being known for a bigger goal can turn the tide, and in turn win over new customers. From food and drinks brands being committed to transparent and fair supply chains, to tech start-ups looking to bring people closer together and affect positive world change, every business has a good story to tell. What’s yours?

* Source: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/researchhub/ukethicalmarket.aspx
** Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/brady-josephson/want-to-be-happier-give-m_b_6175358.html