Today’s consumers demand much more than just a good deal. For brands to stay competitive in today’s marketplace, they must have a purpose behind their brand and show a desire to fulfill more than just their own bottom line.

When brands and consumers work in unison on a social mission, the impact can be significant. Sure, a committed consumer following makes it easier to boost sales. However, when the next step is taken, and consumers are tied to a brand with a social mission, the loyalty advances well beyond the point of sale. Driven by a clearly defined social mission, customers will be much more likely to stick up for your brand in social settings and on social media.

Businesses that are on a social mission have a competitive advantage while also doing good in the world With a loyal customer base that’s supporting a cause, you will have more opportunities to gain brand visibility, improve reputation, and form valuable partnerships. In a nutshell, businesses that are on a social mission have a competitive advantage while also doing good in the world.

You don’t have to take my word for it. There’s an abundance of industry research that supports these claims and shows that the marriage between brands and social missions is more than just a fad; it’s a shift that’s here to stay.

Let’s take a look at some data that supports these claims, and the steps brand should take:

Brands Must Show Today’s Consumers They’re On A Social Mission

Brands, especially large brands with an established following, are already ahead of the game when it comes to driving social change. By mobilizing their consumers and investing in the resources to support the mission, they’re in a great spot to do social good.

We’re discussing this for more than the reason of “it’s just the right thing to do.” Brands on a social mission are simply what today’s consumers expect.

When looking at Edelman’s “Earned Brand 2016 – Global Results” report, the proof is in the pudding. According to the data, 62 percent of today’s consumers will not buy if a brand fails to meet societal obligations. Nearly two-thirds of consumers (60 percent) believe doing good should be a foundational element of the brand, and more than half (55 percent) believe brands are in a position to do more to solve societal ills than the government.

One of the ways brands can mobilize their following and spread their message is by focusing on eco-friendly promotional products in stores, at events, or anywhere else they can reach large amounts of consumers. Supporting a social mission, in this case, environmental friendliness can greatly improve favorability of the brand.

The “ASI Ad Impressions Study” shows that 42 percent of consumers have a more favorable opinion of an advertiser if the promotional product they received is environmentally friendly. When breaking the consumer base down into age brackets, the data shows that less than 40 percent of those 45 years old (and older) have a more favorable opinion.

However, when looking at the next generation of consumers, environmental friendliness becomes much more important. More than half of all consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 have a more favorable opinion of brands that give out environmentally-friendly promotion products.

Getting Your Brand Started With A Social Mission

After you’ve identified a social mission that’s right for your brand, you’ll have to find a way to put it in place across the entire company. An “all hands on deck” attitude will ensure the mission takes hold. Here are some steps to consider when implementing your brand:

1. Weave It Into the Company’s DNA

While your brand’s products should be what you’re known for, the social mission should be a close second. When customers see your brand, they should also think about the social mission it represents. To do so, it must be engrained across the organization and woven into the brand guidelines, marketing materials, website, social media channels, and more.

2. Employ People That Believe in the Mission

You know that scene in Elf when the engine on Santa’s sleigh stops working because Christmas spirit was low? The same can happen to your brand’s social mission (no, I don’t mean your brand will come to a crash landing in Central Park). To successfully integrate a social mission within your brand, all employees have to be committed to the mission. After all, it’s your employees that will be carrying out and displaying the mission for all to see.

3. Stay Committed

When carrying out a social mission, it’s essential to stay committed on an individual and organizational level. Be sure your company is regularly involved in the mission, whether it be making donations or hosting events. Also, be sure to publicize your involvement with press releases and social media activity. However, it’s important to promote gently; you do not want the publicity to be put ahead of the greater cause.

Never put your brand on a social mission just because it’s what your competitors are doing. Aligning your brand with a powerful mission that showcases what it stands for can create brand advocates and allow your organization to be known for more than its products and services.

Is your brand on a social mission?