News and Insights

FINN Partners Introduces “The FINN Purpose Alignment Index”

June 8, 2023

FINN Diagnostic Ranking Tool Enables Brands to Explore How Product and Purpose Priorities Influence Customer-Purchasing Decisions and Avoid Market Missteps

Generational Expectations and Geography Impact Purpose-Perspective Buying Patterns

New York, New York – FINN Partners, a leading global integrated marketing and communications agency, today announced the launch of “The FINN Purpose Alignment Index” – a proprietary research product designed to quantify the influence of a company’s or brand’s purpose-related commitments and efforts on consumer buying decisions.

A first-of-its-kind diagnostic tool, the Index can be deployed across any industry sector to enable brands and corporations to understand how their product and purpose priorities factor into consumer purchasing decisions in a highly competitive marketplace. This proprietary index enables clients to hone purpose-centric market strategies and communications plans based on the predictive impact on brand perception and customer likelihood to support a brand for its social impact.

“Our industry-leading Purpose and Social Impact Practice helps companies define and articulate their unique, purpose-driven stories,” said Amy Terpeluk, managing partner, FINN Purpose and Social Impact Practice. “Time and again, research has proven that purpose-related factors enhance corporate reputations and drive profits. The FINN Purpose Alignment Index enables market leaders to intentionally guide their company’s decisions and direction for quantifiable results.”

To illustrate the Index’s value in action, FINN conducted a study in March 2023, enlisting more than 2,500 consumers in the US and UK to share their views on seven brand purpose factors spanning economics and cost, reputation, functionality, customer experience, ESG/social impact, social influence, and marketing. The index also uncovers deeper consumer purchase drivers across 40 subfactors, including data privacy, trustworthiness, transparent business practices, and workforce diversity.  Among the study conclusions:

  1. Social impact is more important than product features when customers are making final buying decisions. Consumers consider both what they buy and whom they are buying from, weighing the company’s reputation as an employer, transparency of business practices, and workforce diversity and inclusion efforts. Among the 40 social impact ranking factors, keeping customer data private and secure (#4) and operating in a trustworthy way (#5) rank higher than new features (#6) and product innovation (#10).
  2. Generational differences are highly pronounced when aligning product and purpose priorities. Gen Xers and Millennials rank social impact/ESG factors in the top half of their buying priorities and are cost conscious. Gen Z and Millennials are the most likely to purchase a personal technology product and social impact issues take prominence over price sensitivity in their buying decisions.
  3. UK consumers rank six social impact factors higher than US consumers and consider twice as many social impact factors in their top 20 brand purpose preferences. Except for treating employees well, US consumers consistently rank social impact factors lower than UK citizens. UK consumers rate factors such as transparent business practices and a company having a diverse workforce more highly than US consumers, who don’t include these considerations in any of their top 20 sub-factors.
  4. Sustainability and the environment are important considerations, but they rank higher in importance among women consumers than men, who ranked that sub-factor 19th among their top 20. And while respondents rated a company’s environmental impacts and sustainable business practices as extremely important, they felt that most companies perform poorly in these areas.
  5. “Walking the walk” matters more to UK and younger generational buyers than product features. The data suggest that brand performance combined with purpose and social impact will ultimately sway consumers and build a company’s market share.

“The FINN Brand Purpose Alignment Index offers companies a diagnostic tool to understand how to prioritize initiatives that promote societal benefit around the factors most important to consumers, to influence their buying decisions and enhance their overall brand experience,” notes Barry Reicherter, managing partner, FINN Global Intelligence. “This research also demonstrates that no matter how well a brand performs with consumers, there are purpose alignment gaps that can be identified, and addressing them can be prioritized for maximum positive reputational and bottom-line impact.”

FINN will make the 40 social ranking factors available as a free download to support industry purpose and social impact and marketing communication professionals assessing corporate and brand campaign alignment.  Recently, leading companies have launched social impact initiatives that were withdrawn quickly and called “out of touch” with customer and shareholder interests. The Index and ranking factors will enable decision-makers to assess campaign ideas alongside market interests.

“We know that purpose and social impact are valued by consumers, and we know that companies that embrace good corporate citizenship have better reputations and do better in the marketplace,” said Gil Bashe, Chair Global Health and Purpose. “With the FINN Purpose Alignment Index, we can guide how and when a company incorporates purpose-based initiatives to create stronger, organic connections and life-long relationships with consumers for far-ranging mutual benefits for people and planet.”

“FINN was born out of a desire to create something different. From a small group to a community of 1,400 people, we remain true to our core values of caring for people, ethical behavior, inspiring change, championing justice and equality and rallying around companies and causes to solve the most pressing social problems,” shares Peter Finn, CEO and Founding Partner, FINN Partners. “Sharing the Index and the ranking data will enable other C-Suite leaders to rally their companies strategically and thoughtfully in social action.”

The Importance of Purpose and Social Impact for Companies, NGOs and Institutions

Purpose must be anchored in strategy and identified as a contributor to an enterprise’s identity and reputation. Purpose and Social Impact efforts must create alignment among employees, customers, shareholders, policymakers, and market influencers and be centered around strengthening reputation and relationships. Different functions apply a unique lens around how purpose should align around these four priorities: (1) enhance and sustain customers loyalty; (2) engage and retain a diverse employee community; (3) enhance environmental, social and governance performance and reduce business risk, and (4) guide resource allocation and priorities.


TAGS: Purpose & Social Impact