In our series looking at whether the coronavirus would make us better people, our first post described what we meant by better people, and introduced ‘societal’.
Will the Coronavirus make us better people (more societal)? Part 2 - People's Attitudes
After the Prime Minister’s speech on Monday 23rd March when he instructed people to stay at home apart from a prescribed set of circumstances, a poll by YouGov showed that people’s attitude was that they agreed with the government’s position, but felt the public at large weren’t taking it seriously. More of that later!
In our last post we discussed what we meant by being made ‘better people’ and explained that societal relating to society. We gave an example of societal marketing, which is where a company’s marketing has an ecological message or example. We ended by asking if this was just marketing, or was it real?
Here we explore people’s attitudes and see how important this stuff is today. We also look at some of the attitudes that people are displaying about or as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Companies Take Note!
It isn’t just marketing. Even the most profit-oriented companies need sales. In 2018 nearly two thirds of global consumers made purchases from companies that stand for a purpose that aligns with their values – up 13% from the year before (Accenture research). There is further evidence that the societal angle is becoming more important – Consumers are also drawn to brands that:
• are committed to using good quality ingredients (76%),
• treat employees well (65%)
• are focused on reducing plastics and improving the environment (62%)
62% of consumers are influenced by a company’s ethical values and authenticity, and 74% want to understand more about companies source products, ensure safe working conditions and enforce animal testing policies.
Similar Results Apply To Sustainability
So, we’re looking at things that are for the greater good. There’s been a lot of publicity recently on related issues, such as climate change, sustainability and other ‘green’ issues, aided by publicity for groups like Extinction Rebellion and individuals like Greta Thunberg. Looking at just sustainability, we find similar results.
A 2019 US CGS Survey came up with similar results regarding sustainability. Over 1,000 consumers were surveyed and more than two thirds considered sustainability when making a purchase, and are willing to pay more!
46% of people would be prepared to pay 25% more for sustainable products – this is higher for younger people – Gen Z * is more willing to pay 50-99% more compared to other groups.
• Gen Z were born between 1995 and 2015 –
In the CGS 2019 U.S. Consumer Sustainability Survey, more than 1,000 consumers were surveyed as to their buying habits.
Click the button below for common descriptions of the different generations.
For a fuller explanation of the different generations, see the definitions from KASASA
Baby Boomers: Baby boomers were born between 1944 and 1964.
Gen X: Gen X was born between 1965 - 1979
Gen Y: Gen Y, or Millennials, were born between 1980 and 1994.
Gen Y.1 = 25-29 years old
Gen Y.2 = 29-39
Gen Z: Gen Z is the newest generation to be named and were born between 1995 and 2015.
You can download the infographic from CGS here if you’ve registered.
So this indicates that people’s values are important to what they buy.
What Are People's Values
Values motivate our actions and help us make decisions. They are universal concepts, which unite people. Values can include concepts like fairness, justice, freedom, and equality.
The UK Government created’British Values’ in 2014, to create social unity and prevent extremism. Click below to find out what they are.
But we’re talking about societal stuff, which reflects social values. Social value reflects the relative importance that people place on the changes they experience in their lives, such as living next to a park, which can’t be quantified financially.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have a ‘learning compass’ which is aimed at improving all students’ around the world attitudes and values by 2030.
Given the wide geographical scope and education differences, they blur the differences between attitudes, values and beliefs (see below).
If you want to find out more, you can use virtual reality – just follow the instructions on the picture below. Or click the button below.
To make this apply across the world, values are classified into four categories – Personal, Social, Societal and Human. Click the button on the right for definitions from OECD.
To download the report click the button below.
Back to the Coronavirus
Btitons' Views about the Coronavirus
What are Britons views and attitudes towards the Coronavirus and the government’s position? As we said at the beginning of this post, a YouGov poll just before and just after the PM’s speech putting the UK in lockdown showed most people (58%) agreed with the government’s stance.
However, people think the public AREN’T taking it seriously.
This increased from 50% before the speech to 61% afterwards.
A snap poll on the 23rd March night suggested that over 90% of people supported the government’s new measures.
People are afraid
Although most think they’ll be OK, one in three people say they’re fearful for the future (more women than men). The YouGov poll showed:
Half of Brits felt that the virus would kill millions worldwide, but 31% felt it wouldn’t be much worse than a typical flu.
What's the Worldwide View
Another YouGov study shows that people in Asia are more concerned about cathing coronavirus than they are in the UK and USA.
These figures for the UK and USA perhaps explain why people in the UK ignored the advice on social distancing, prompting the Prime Minister to enforce a lockdown. MarketWatch stated that Snowdonia national park had it’s ‘busiest weekend in living memory’.
Even afterwards, people weren’t taking the government’s instructions seriously enough. CNN report that people in the West are ignoring advice, and pointed out that Italy shows what will happen next.
So what next?
Our next post will look at what changes in the world over the last 10-20 years have led to this position, and how these changes have shaped people’s attitudes today.