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#ChooseToChallenge part three: Consumer values

We’re ending our #ChooseToChallenge journey this month with a focus on consumer value trends. If you missed the past two blog posts on #ChooseToChallenge, fear not, you can read them here:

The Marketing with Purpose Playbook is filled with ways marketers like yourself can overcome barriers to connecting with consumers, customers, clients, and people. Approaching your brand’s relationship with its customers the same way you approach your personal relationships not only builds trust, it also signals to them that you understand their values and recognise them for who they are as people.

Demographical values

In our research, we uncovered that 48% of people stopped purchasing from a brand because it did not represent their values, and that number is higher for females (50%) and ethnic minorities (53%). Ultimately, consumers judge these brand values by the ads they see on TV, online, and in print. Inclusive ads give consumers a sense that a brand is open-minded and centred around their own personal values first.

Generational values

One of the most eye-opening data sets in the Marketing with Purpose Playbook is research about values held across generations; the visual below illustrates the results. If you look closely, you’ll notice there are no lines connecting Gen Z’s and Millennials’ common values to those of Gen X and older generations. One size doesn’t fit all. Each generation has been impacted by culture to shape the values they hold as people. For example, Gen Z is grappling with the reality of the pandemic and racial/political unrest, whereas that was not at the core of culture for Millennials.

Findings from a Values and Lifestyle Survey, showing the differences in consumer values between pre-Boomers born before 1946, Boomers born between 1946 and 1964, Gen X born between 1965 and 1976, Millennials born between 1977 and 1993, and Gen Z born between 1994 and 2010.
Source: CEB Iconoculture Values and Lifestyle Survey, 2010-2016; base: United States general population

The Values — Consumer value trends section of the Marketing with Purpose Playbook also sheds light on where generations are similar. For example, Boomers and Gen X have a negative attitude about the future in comparison to younger generations, and compared to Millennials, Boomers are less likely to be charitable. While that may be surprising, these nuances in personal values are important to understand when building brand messaging, and when you #ChoosetoChallenge the status quo. Check out the vastly different values held by generations below:

12% more likely to be privacy conscious
8% more likely to state family is the most important thing in their life
66% more likely to pay more for sustainable and eco-friendly products
40% more likely to be altruistic
28% more likely to be community contributors
10% more likely to state family is the most important thing in their life
5% more likely to be privacy conscious
35% more likely to value environmental issues
32% more likely to pay more for sustainable and eco-friendly products
17% more likely to be altruistic

Source: GlobalWebIndex, Microsoft Advertising Network compared to the internet, March 2020.

When brand and consumer values intersect

Marketing with Purpose means knowing the platforms on which you advertise and ensuring they provide trusted consumer experiences. Did you know that Microsoft Bing, the largest search engine within the Microsoft Search Network, aligns their brand values — like sustainability, data privacy, and social justice — with their customers’ personal values through the Give with Bing programme? Simply by searching and earning Microsoft Rewards points, Microsoft Bing customers can donate to the charities and causes that mean the most to them, including those focused on sustainability, data privacy, and social justice. Finding the intersection between your brand’s values and consumers’ values is key to unlocking opportunities to build brand trust, love, and loyalty.

Taking a step back and examining the Microsoft Advertising Network as a whole, it is filled with diverse audiences: Did you know that Microsoft Advertising users within the LGTBQI+ community are 41% more likely to/would pay more for sustainable/eco-friendly products, that our Veterans are 223% more like to regularly donate to a charity, or that our LatinX audience is 35% more likely to try or buy natural/organic products? Make sure you’re investing in products and services that represent your brand authentically and also represent that for which your brand stands.

So, what is your brand doing to appreciate and speak to diverse consumer values? There’s no doubt that we have a lot of work to do to refine our approaches to advertising and marketing, but this crucial work may be easier than you’d expect. I hope this series highlighted three areas where you can #ChooseToChallenge the status quo and redefine your brand values to build trust with all customers.