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BBC study reveals keys to brand sustainability

The economic instability brought on by Covid-19 has seen brands in constant flux.

As countries slowly open up and businesses start to get back into the office, we can see this recovery is coinciding with a pivotal time in the fight against climate change. Consumers are becoming ever more aware of their choices and the expectations and standards they hold brands to.

To address this shift in consumer sentiment, BBC Global News conducted two waves of surveys to obtain in-depth insights into how consumers across the globe really feel towards sustainability, focusing on three different sectors – automotive, technology and finance.

The results across the board show that consumers care not only about what your business says but about what it does:

  • 80% agree that clearly demonstrating a commitment to sustainability adds value to a brand
  • 78% say sustainable practices and commitments are an important consideration when making purchase decisions
  • 67% are happy to pay more for brands with strong sustainability and eco-friendly practices
  • 56% say they would stop buying a product they were previously loyal to if they discovered it was not committed to sustainability

On average, for the 27 brands surveyed across three sectors, around half of all consumers said they are not aware of the brand's sustainability practices – with finance ranking by far the highest with 65% of all consumers not being aware of financial brands’ sustainability practices. The research showed that consumers believe that it’s important for all brands’ sustainability practices to involve education and research. 83% of consumers believe that brands should invest in education about the importance of sustainability and 82% agree that brands should be financing research for sustainable practices.

The research shows that, for consumers around the world, brand trust is still seen as the most important brand association, indexing particularly high in the automotive and technology sectors at 88% and 82% respectively, with finance scoring 60%.

The research also reveals that 66% of those surveyed said that interviews with an international news partner are the most influential way for consumers to learn about a brand’s CSR, followed by branded content within a premium environment (35%). These are techniques brands can leverage to help deliver their sustainability message to consumers at scale.

Lori Suchcicki, senior vice president Commercial Partnerships, BBC Global News, EMEA said, “Sustainability is an ever-increasing priority for consumers in their purchase decision, yet this research indicates there is a gap between a brand’s sustainability practices and consumer awareness. To retain customer loyalty, and attract new consumers, this gap needs to be addressed by developing an authentic and transparent narrative. The BBC’s expert storytellers have a long history in bridging this gap by engaging with global audiences through creative and emotive brand campaigns.”

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