Brands get vocal about ethics despite the risk of losing consumers

January 14, 2019
2 min read

Brands across the world are becoming increasingly vocal about issues that once would have been deemed too risky to be a part of, in fear of losing their consumer base.

Today, the more common attitude from brands leans towards a willingness to lose consumers whose ethics aren’t aligned with theirs—if it means they are doing the right thing and acting out of their own values as well as those of the general public. This aligns with Mintel Trend ‘Buydeology’ which discusses how brands are associating themselves with companies that share their cultural and ideological values, and vice versa.


Last year, ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s released a limited edition ‘Gimme S’more Renewables’ flavour in Australia. The brand sent out personalised tubs of this to Australian politicians in an attempt to change their views on climate change.

Showcasing the significance of climate change on the world’s environment, in September 2018 alone, more than 40 events were held across the country as part of global protests demanding for real action on climate change, according to environmental campaign group 350 Australia.

This is not the first time Ben & Jerry’s has taken a stand on pressing issues in Australia. In fact, the brand banned customers from getting two scoops of the same flavour for a short time to highlight the unfairness of Australia’s old marriage laws which prevented same sex couples from getting married.

What we think

While there was a time when a brand engaging with political or social reform could negatively impact the perception and engagement with consumers, we are seeing a definite swing the other way, particularly as consumers demand that the ethical and moral views, as well as behaviours of brands, align with theirs.

Consulting with consumers and being open to changing views are important for companies and brands, especially for the more established ones who may face a backlash if they ignore issues that are important to their customers.

Matthew Crabbe
Matthew Crabbe

Matthew is Mintel Trends Regional Director, Asia-Pacific. He and his team provide insights and analysis on the latest market developments and consumer trends across the region.

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