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Why ‘corpsumers’ are such a catch for brands

John Farrell, PR and Communications Committee chair, the Worshipful Company of Marketors, discusses a buyer that makes up one third of the population: the corporate consumer

As marketers, we are constantly seeking to target and engage with certain consumer demographics in order to drive sales. If we were selling luxury sports cars, for example, it would simply make sense to aim communications towards high-income-earning adults rather than cash-deprived students.

But there is a certain category of consumer that permeates across all industries and should be considered as a top priority for brands: the ‘corpsumer’. The typical corpsumer is far more engaged than your average shopper, and they wield a surprising amount of influence over the success of businesses. According to MWWPR, they can be defined as “brand activists that think a company’s values, actions and corporate reputation are just as important as the product it makes”.

Making up around one-third of the global population, those that fall into the corpsumer demographic tend to possess a similar set of traits. They are usually well-educated millennials and/or ‘gen x-ers’ that work full-time and earn a high income. Many of them are also parents.

Corpsumers take pride in being culturally current, and this often shapes the type of person they have become. Statistics from MWWPR have found that half of all corpsumers share their views on current events, politics and cultural issues several times a week, while just under half (48%) say that what they read may influence their individual feelings towards a particular company.

Why are corpsumers important?

Well, in short, they are incredibly loyal. More than half of corpsumers have continued shopping with brands despite bad product experiences because they supported other efforts made by them. From a business perspective, this loyalty is a positive indicator that your business is effectively conveying its messaging, beliefs and values. This loyalty also converts to financial gain, with 67% of corpsumers saying they would rather pay full price for a product that reflects their own personal values than buy a different product at a discounted price.

There are obviously huge benefits to be gained from those that are loyal to your brand, but quite the opposite can be said about those that take an active dislike against you, whether it be for personal, ethical or experiential reasons. While 76% of corpsumers have encouraged their peers to shop with a brand that they support, 74% have actively encouraged someone to give up or not use a product because they do not agree with the brand behind it.

Corpsumers are both more conscious in where they choose to shop – if they are going to spend money, they want to ensure that money is going towards a deserved brand or cause – and so in some ways their patronage is a well-earned accreditation. AS MWWPR says, “this growing segment is a critical business imperative to target because their attitudes and beliefs about company reputation are so strong that they drive behaviour. They look to corporate reputation to determine not only the products they buy, but also the companies they invest in, do business with and work for.”

How can brands connect with corpsumers?

The reason that corpsumers choose to engage with certain brands in such a committed way is that they see a part of themselves reflected within the brand itself. They are identifying with you in the same way they might do with a friend that shares similar interests and beliefs.

This is why, if brands want to increase the number of corpsumers it is capturing, it must look to build a strong, detailed and credible mission statement that acts as the backbone for the entire company. It isn’t enough to simply set up shop and start selling products; you need to make it clear to consumers why you believe in what you’re selling and how your actions will help to make a positive change in the world. Without a story, how else are consumers meant to know what you really believe in?

In this regard, it also helps to build a deep, analytical understanding of your current target audience that can help you to gauge their thoughts and opinions. For example, if it transpires that large swathes of your audience actively seek to purchase organic products, it would make sense to emphasise your commitment towards such products if you aren’t already. Simply lying about your commitment to sway corpsumers, however, would be an incredibly unwise move to make – we have already written about what can occur when they take a dislike towards a brand.

Conclusion

Corpsumers are an incredibly important demographic to hold on to, and the benefits involved in the relationship are mutual. For brands, they are able to benefit from having a group of ambassadors that offer unrivalled loyalty, while the corpsumers themselves are able to nail their colours to the mast of a brand they believe reflects their personal ethics and values. There is also an element of hope involved in this transaction, with more than half (53%) of corpsumers believing that a company has a greater ability to make a positive impact in the world than the Government does.

To hold on to these precious individuals, brands need to assign themselves a set of beliefs that set them apart as a conscious, individual entity that individuals can relate to, while also developing a clearer image of their own target audience’s beliefs and behaviours. By combining these two factors and using the results effectively, brands can reap the benefits of connecting with an ever-growing group of corpsumers.

The Worshipful Company of Marketors is a thriving, modern Livery Company, whose membership includes the top marketing professionals in the City of London.

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