As consumers, we have choices. Online trends shape the way we think about our favourite brands. Influencers sway us; our social networks also contribute and as consumers we look for alignment in a brand’s social values to mirror our own beliefs.

Social brand values are not a reference to a brand’s social media presence, although that matters. The connection to buyers is made through marketing, and how a brand ties their product attributes to social values to connect with the personal values of the consumer.

Our buying decisions are influenced by our values, and we will make purchase choices that support our ideas because it validates our self-perception. Marketing messages with social conscience are going to be more resonant and have more traction. When I see this, I try to peel back and unpack what feels real and what feels like a sales opportunity that’s packaged in positivity.

Empirical research on consumerism and materialism shows us that material well-being does not correlate with subjective well-being. Having more material objects doesn’t equal the feeling of leading a better life. Shopping therapy is an oxymoron unless you’re paying with someone else’s credit card.

Enter ethical consumerism. You still want to buy but only when you can shop brands whose corporate social values and marketing messages reflect what you think about the environment, human rights, animal rights, fair trade, politics and other causes.

Dollar voting applies the idea that as consumers, we choose to spend morally with businesses that do good. Essentially, you are up-voting the causes brands support by making the choice to give them your business. They win, you win, the cause wins.

Here are some examples of brand values-based marketing. Do all of them resonate for you?


Mcdonald’s – International Women’s Day
A McDonald’s in Lynwood, California, turned its golden-arches sign upside down in support of International Women’s Day and the chain’s logos on social media followed suit.


Warby Parker – Buy a Pair, Give a Pair

Since day one, over 3 million pairs of glasses have been distributed through the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. Alleviating the problem of impaired vision is at the heart of what we do, and with your help, our impact continues to expand.


Huggies – No Baby Goes Unhugged

Every year, 90,000 babies are born prematurely and too early to be hugged. Some of these preemies are so fragile and delicate, that the only thing that touches their skin is a diaper.

Seriously, how do I not buy preemie diapers right now? The babies need hugs. I don’t even need the diapers. Maybe I need a hug. Let’s hug and go buy some diapers.