Shoppers Love Brands with Morals: Why Leading with Values Matters in 2023

Shoppers Love Brands with Morals: Why Leading with Values Matters in 2023

Trust is the heartbeat between a brand and its customers, and every touchpoint a marketer uses to help build trusted relationships matters. As customers navigate a rapidly-shifting world, values-based marketing is more crucial than ever.

In Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer 5th Edition report, 74% of customers say a brand communicating honestly and transparently is more important now than before the pandemic. Research also finds that customers trust companies to act responsibly. Seventy-one percent of customers in Singapore and 83% of customers in Thailand trust companies to act with society’s best interest in mind.

That echoes results from the Salesforce 8th Edition State of Marketing Report, drawing from 6,000 marketers across 35 countries and analyzing trillions of outbound marketing messages sent using the Salesforce platform, which explores how to capitalize on customers’ evolving digital-first expectations.

“Trust, values, and integrity are at the forefront of what customers expect from businesses they shop with. Customers expect brands to demonstrate rich and solid values in 2023, prioritizing ethical, social, and environmental responsibilities.”

Shoppers Love Brands with Morals: Why Leading with Values Matters in 2023

Brands Leading with Values

Consider Doves’ Campaign for Real Beauty, helping women appreciate their beauty no matter their shape or size. The campaign scrutinized the fashion world that glorifies unrealistic beauty ideals.

Procter & Gamble’s “The Talk” campaign used its platform, My Black is Beautiful, to illuminate how society can misdefine Black people, helping reshape a cultural discussion.

Many buy-one-give-one models of brands such as Bombas, SoapBox, and WeWood give back by donating shoes or socks, a bar of soap, or planting trees.

According to the Salesforce report, 93% of high-performing marketing teams ensure their external messaging reflects its corporate values, whereas underperforming groups match values 70% of the time. It’s interesting to note that 66% of customers have stopped buying from a company whose values didn’t align with theirs.

That said, we know that Millennials and Gen Zers are values-conscious and care about a brand’s role in society as much (and sometimes more) than the efficacy of that product.

A McKinsey & Co report explains U.S. consumer sentiment and behaviors during the coronavirus crisis found that 42% of millennials and Gen Z consumers cited purpose as the primary factor in changing brands. For example, they base their decision on whether a company shares their values and if employees are treated well. A company with clear purpose signals to internal and external stakeholders who you are and what you stand for.

How to Share Your Brand Values

Content marketing can be a powerful way to connect with consumers. Telling your brand story in a way that makes people want to learn more and eventually buy from you is critical. Marketers who create compelling, interesting, engaging content can make consumers feel like they know you. Sharing your brand values through that content is a shortcut to connecting and building trust.

Here are some tips to consider when sharing brand values:

1-Know your brand identity: Have you identified your brand’s core principles, such as your purpose, vision, mission, and values?

2-Is your website working for you? In the digital world, your web and social presence is your first impression. Highlight your brand values, whether in product copy or on your About Us page.

3-Highlight your team: Showcase the people behind your brand in special and creative ways. Whether it’s an employee feature on social or a bio on your website, put faces to your brand to create a connection.

4-Demonstrate your transparency: Your brand values should be evident in every aspect of your business, from how you treat your employees to your supply chain or manufacturing process. Look for creative ways to tell your brand's story—at each level.

5-Spotlight your culture into content: Demonstrating how you do what you do behind the scenes explains everything about who your brand is. Look to the uniqueness of your culture to inspire your next content ideas.

6-Ensure your brand story is consistent and cohesive: Telling your brand story is crucial for marketing but can also improve your bottom line. A study by Origin and Hill Holiday found that people spent more on everything from hotel rooms to painting when products or promos were paired with a story.

Case Study: Salesforce Bets on Values

What do Salesforce, Matthew McConaughey, and Team USA at the Olympic Winter Games 2022 have in common? Each played a critical role in engaging global audiences through a values-based marketing campaign, #TeamEarth.

Salesforce has grown and expanded quickly, amassing a broad product portfolio. This growth created an opportunity to educate its audiences on what the company is built on: its values.

Out of this, the #TeamEarth campaign was born.

But this new campaign wasn’t without risk. Unlike most of what the marketing team had previously created, the #TeamEarth campaign wasn’t about selling Salesforce products. Instead, the goal was to inspire companies to use the power of business to create a better, more equitable, and sustainable future.


To launch the campaign, Salesforce:

  • Created strategic brand and media partnerships
  • Invested in linear TV and OTT video advertising
  • Ran a values-based spot during high-profile sporting events
  • Partnered with Matthew McConaughey as a brand advisor


The team has already seen some early wins:

  • A 30% increase in organic search of the brand during the campaign's first few months
  • 5x the social conversations compared to Salesforce's previous Team USA campaign for Tokyo
  • 80% increase in employee pride in working at Salesforce after seeing the campaign
  • Early increases in unaided awareness in a brand health survey

The fight for consumers’ attention and money is getting harder—the way for brands to stand out begins with encompassing brand messaging with values. Consumers will remember which brands played a positive role in shaping a future we all want to live in.

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Becky Wright

Author: Becky Wright, VP Salesforce Alliance & Marketing

Becky’s background in corporate marketing, sales and leadership spans several industries including Media and Communications, Retail and Consumer Goods, Professional Services, Finance and Technology. With more than 15 years of worldwide experience in rapidly growing organizations, Becky plays a major role in integrating technologies and business processes to create demand engines that influence and convert growth. Becky’s passion for technology and B2B enterprise services inspire her to share unique perspectives on digital transformation strategies that deliver strong results and deep business intelligence.