We are notoriously bad at knowing ourselves. Science shows that we are not quite as beautiful, or smart, or ethical as we would like to think. As a result, our self-proclaimed beliefs do not always translate into action; often, we say we’ll do “the right thing” but (consciously or not) we’ll proceed to do the opposite. Are we really nothing more than delusional creatures of habit bound to repeat our mistakes? No – actually, far from it. Certain individuals are hyperaware of their values and follow through on decisions and actions accordingly. Although a small group, these consumers spark awareness, change their behavior, demand transparency, and inspire trends.

My latest report examines what, when, and why consumers buy, when values are central to their decision-making process. In my research, I found that, despite limited knowledge and patterns of self-deceit, consumers want to purchase from companies that embrace ethical practices. More broadly, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of company values and are opening their wallets when company values resonate with theirs:

My research, which blends Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® survey data, ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community insight, and social listening metrics, reveals that consumers’ desire to purchase from companies that exhibit favorable values is not all talk. Consumers make value-based decisions more easily when barriers to identifying companies and selecting products that align with their personal values are lowered.

Ultimately, shoppers who make these purchase decisions invest greater trust in the companies they buy from. Brands that harmonize their company values with their customers’ values forge richer emotional connections with shoppers, build stronger relationships with these consumers, resonate with individuals at a deeper level, and deliver a better customer experience.

Interested in learning more about the power of emotion in consumer/brand relationships? Please stay tuned for my forthcoming reports on this topic and my keynote at the Customer Experience Forum next month in New York City, or reach out to me directly.

And if you’re interested in learning more about this data and how company values influence decision-making across product categories, please contact us at data@forrester.com.