Catering to the Conscious Consumer: Values as the New Brand Differentiator

Today's conscious consumers aren't just looking for any old product. They want something that speaks to their values and ticks all the boxes when it comes to ethical sourcing and production.

Just saying your product has clean ingredients won't cut it anymore. To connect with these conscious shoppers, you've gotta go the extra mile. That means in addition to having great flavor—or scent in the personal care space—brands must be transparent about what goes into your product.

When you shout out these ethical values loud and clear, it's not just a feel-good thing. It's a savvy move to attract and, more importantly, keep those customers coming back for more. Plus, it sets you apart from the competition in a meaningful way.

headshot of 2 people with sultry smiles and bold makeupheadshot of 2 people with sultry smiles and bold makeup

Which of the following would you be willing to pay a premium for?

Ingredient Sourcing Environmental Worker Welfare Animal Welfare Ingredient Restrictions 47% 42% 39% 38% 37%
47% Ingredient Sourcing 42% Environmental 39% Worker Welfare 38% Animal Welfare 37% IngredientRestrictions

Source: Spins: 2024 CPG Trends & What To Expect N = 401 “For each of the product and packaging characteristics, please rate the level of importance to you when shopping for groceries. Product Certification, Label Claims, Specific Diet Types, Presence of Functional Ingredients, and Ingredients” *N = 199 “Which of the following are personally important to you?”; Which of the following would you be willing to pay a premium for?

Connecting With Ethically-Minded Shoppers Through Your Brand Story

Articulating your brand values conveys a commitment beyond profit.

Sharing your brand story on your website, social media, and product packaging is key for fostering connections with purpose-driven customers. Go beyond just selling a product. It's about letting them in on the "why" behind your brand and the passion that fuels your whole business.

Think of it as a friendship in the making. When you share your founding story, (ie. why you started the company in the first place) suddenly, it's not about buying stuff. It's about connecting on a deeper level. Weaving in themes like sustainability, ethical sourcing, and eco-friendliness into your narrative shows these values are deeply ingrained in your brand.

Brands that prioritize values-based positioning experience increased sales and heightened customer loyalty

Brand repeat rate by level of sales from products with ESG-related claims

The share of sales from products with ESG-related claims showcased on a graph with 27% reading very low (below 20% of sales), 29% moderate (20-50%), 32% high (51-80%) and 34% highest (over 80%)The share of sales from products with ESG-related claims showcased on a graph with 27% reading very low (below 20% of sales), 29% moderate (20-50%), 32% high (51-80%) and 34% highest (over 80%)

Share of sales from products with ESG-related claims

Source: NielsonIQ consumer panel, comprising 100,000 households, Sept 2020-2022

Sharing Your Sustainable
and Ethical Commitments

Transforming values into action on your website and point-of-sale

When you're talking about your brand's commitment to ingredient transparency, fair labor practices, and environmental and animal welfare, you've gotta make it count on your website. When someone lands on your product pages, make it clear what your standards are. Icons can be a great way to show off what your products are free-from or any functional benefits. Make sure to keep language straightforward and free of jargon so everyone gets what you're all about.

But don't stop there. Make sure to talk about how your packaging also matches your values. Think plastic-free, recyclable materials, metal screw caps, or containers you can refill. These traits prove that your brand is genuinely invested. Plus, here's a nugget: in a recent Kantar Profile/Mintel survey, a whopping 75% of people said they like when brands include nutrition education on their packaging, and 55% love a nod to environmental impact.

Carry these descriptions over to your online retail platforms too, so that wherever customers shop, they can see you're committed to ethical and eco-conscious practices.


48% of consumers surveyed say, “making sure a brand's values align with my own is a top priority for me when purchasing a product.”

Source: Mintel Global Consumer

Imagine you were contemplating an item you wanted to buy but didn’t need.

Which benefits would make you most likely to purchase the item?

High-Quality Ingredients

Source: Ipsos Online Syndicated Community, comprising 1368 participants, December 2022

Why does this matter?

As eco-friendly and clean products have become more mainstream, consumers have grown skeptical of sustainability and ethical branding claims. According to market research firm Mintel, 66% of online shoppers at least somewhat agree that they're not sure when sustainability claims are genuine or just marketing efforts.

This makes complete transparency and substantiated messaging all the more vital for natural brands. In the food, beverage, or personal care industry, taking the initiative to self-regulate shows goodwill and builds customer loyalty in the long run. As conscious consumerism accelerates, brands authentically positioning around ethics and purpose will have a competitive leg up to meet evolving buyer expectations.

Your Brand's Next Step

Consumer behaviors change rapidly, but that doesn't mean your brand needs to fall behind. Guided by social listening and market research, check in with your team and discuss the interests and concerns influencing your audience. By proactively adapting your marketing plan to suit their needs, it's possible to stay relevant—and have the sales figures to back it up.

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