Consumers spend according to their values. Does your content engage them?
Consumers are motivated by their values. According to Forrester, 18% of consumers feel strongly about social issues and they’re motivated to buy products based on those values. Other sources find that more than a third of consumers would spend more with retail brands that express values that align with theirs.
It makes sense for brands to leverage values-based messaging to motivate their customers. Tread lightly, though. Even if 18% of your customer base is values motivated, it doesn’t mean that they are all motivated by the same values. Nor does it mean that your brand has a distinct point of view on the issues that matter to customers.
Effective values-based messaging is specific about the issue and authentic to the brand—both requirements to avoid accusations of value signaling. Making the most of it to deepen customer relationships also requires consistency at scale. AI language generation can help.
Social issues are complex, and there are often distinct sub-issues embedded within them. Environmentalism, for example, is an umbrella term with a range of goals, from carbon neutrality and air quality, to protecting natural habitats like rain forests or coral reefs. No single brand could effectively take an environmentalist position that encompasses all the sub-issues without looking like they’re greenwashing. Brands that successfully make a social issue central in their messaging often get specific.
The outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, for example, is one of best-known corporate advocates to integrate environmental sustainability and waste-reduction into its brand identity. The company integrates that approach into its operations—for example, by recycling fleece and other polyester fabrics to create new garments from non-virgin cloth. Its “worn wear” hub for people to buy used garments, and “trade in, get credit” program both reinforce this low-waste approach. Patagonia also promotes environmental advocacy with content “stories” that highlight the outdoor adventures and actions of Patagonia customers.
Authenticity is another reason why Patagonia wins accolades for values-based messaging. The brand’s position on environmental issues are consistent with its business of creating durable clothing for outdoor adventures. That alignment between values-based messaging and business value looks and feels authentic to values-driven consumers and more effectively builds connections.
Other examples of values-based marketing that aligns with the business include Cartier’s 2003 print ad featuring Melissa Etheridge and her now-wife, Tammy Lynn Michaels, wearing Cartier commitment bracelets. Or Warby Parker and its “buy a pair give a pair” program to provide free vision exams and glasses to low-income individuals.
Specificity and authenticity are table stakes in values-based messaging. Ensuring that these messages build deeper customer relationships, however, requires consistency across products and channels. Given the volume of messages brands create, it would be easy for a single unfortunate word choice to upend your efforts—but it doesn’t have to.
Advances in language AI allow today’s brands to generate high volumes of messaging copy for all of your channels. But Persado’s Motivation AI is the only language AI platform that is context aware, meaning it has the capability to understand the intent of a message and generate variations on that message that are both consistent with the brand’s intention and optimized to motivate customer action.
Persado trains its Motivation AI solely on enterprise messaging and tailors its approach for each individual brand. The result? Content that “speaks” in your distinct brand voice to reflect your brand image and values.
When coupled with Persado’s “mindfulness” layer — which is designed to flag language that is out of sync with audience expectations — Persado’s Motivation AI can generate value-drive messages at scale across channels.
And don’t forget about personalization. For some customers, your values are the reason they shop with you. For others, it’s secondary, and they are more motivated by product. Knowing which authentic message will resonate most with customers is the best way to achieve business goals, regardless of your values.
Brooke Gocklin is Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Persado.