Cannabis users are more purpose-driven than beer drinkers

IMI's latest Next Wave report looks at how CSR motivates consumers across categories.

Cannabis 2.0

Consumers in some possibly surprising categories are more driven by brand purpose than one might expect, but one thing that unites them is the fact that brands need to make sure their talk is backed up by action.

That’s among the insights from research and marketing consultancy IMI’s latest Next Wave report, focused on the role CSR and brand purpose plays across different categories.

The insights, based on feedback from 800 Canadians, are occasionally counter-intuitive. For example, 67% of cigarette smokers and 65% of cannabis users are influenced to make a brand purchase because of a relatable purpose, compared to 51% of vitamin buyers and 45% of beer drinkers. Among the report’s other insights: condiment buyers (41%) are much less likely to report being purchase-driven than those into fitness wearables (73%).

“Things are not always what you think,” cautions Vanessa Toperczer, IMI’s VP, brand and product integration.

Of course, saying something is one thing, acting on it is another. According to IMI’s survey, people who are proactive in cause-related activities – who do things like volunteer their time or donate money – are also more likely to be loyal consumers than those who just say they support a cause.

“Know those that do, versus those that say, that’s where the power is,” Toperczer notes, adding that a similar principle is also applicable to brands. “Do and don’t just say. That’s what people actually experience and what they will actually see,” especially in a consumer environment in which “people are keeping brands more accountable than ever.” Since people are more engaged by specifics, she says it’s important to for brands to show how they are embodying their talk across all areas of business, she says, citing Nike’s water waste focus as an example.

In the grocery space, Toperczer highlights opportunities for brands such as Safeway to drive ROI and revenue with purchase, as its shoppers are more likely to get behind brand purpose they can relate to than those of other banners (see, below). That also includes making purpose-driven brands it carries more prominent in stores, with Toperzer recommending things like end aisle displays to call them out.

IMI-4-groceryAccording to the IMI findings, 42% of women in Canada, compared with 50% of men, purchase a brand because it has a purpose they relate to. And this has broad relevance to brands across categories: 14 million Canadians have purchased a product “because it has a purpose I relate to.”

And to further break it down, people of colour are more likely to prioritize purpose driven brands with their consumer dollars. Perhaps not surprisingly, Gen Z values purpose-fueled relatable brands the most, at 54%, followed by millennials (47%), Gen X (43%) and finally, Boomers (41%).