How to lock into a rising christian consumer market

AUTHOR:

Chris Stone


4 Ways to Engage Faith Driven Consumers

A recent piece in the American Express Open Forum – “4 Ways to Better Manage Gen-Y” – provided these insights to better manage Generation-Y employees:

Though these tips are offered to managers who oversee Generation-Y employees, they can also be applied to brands seeking to engage Faith Driven Consumers in the marketplace.

1. Make them feel like they matter
Comprised of 41 million consumers and representing 17 percent of American adults, the rapidly emerging and highly differentiated Faith Driven Consumer segment spends $2 trillion annually. However, when it comes to an alignment with their deeply held values and ethics, many Faith Driven Consumers are dissatisfied with the brand options available.

On the one hand, they continually hear calls for inclusion and tolerance in the marketplace, yet simultaneously feel excluded and disrespected by retailers because of their faith and worldview. Given this, Faith Driven Consumers are actively seeking brands compatible with their faith.  And they are ready, willing and able to switch to retailers that respect and value them as a viable and desirable market niche to be pursued.

2. Build loyalty by operating in a manner compatible with their values
Research shows that Faith Driven Consumers are highly loyal and committed to faith-compatible brands. But unlike most consumers – including the broader market of self-identified Christians – the biblical worldview of Faith Driven Consumers consistently shapes their daily decisions, including those they make in the marketplace.

Here, they see little distinction between the secular and the sacred. And they are committed to stewarding their resources in ways that best honor God. Thus, while most Christian consumers compartmentalize their faith, the faith-driven values of this largely untapped – and increasingly enfranchised – market segment drive decisions about the brands they will be loyal to and those they will abandon.

3. Set a clear path to successfully integrate with this market segment
Messaging matters.  So does corporate behavior on issues that Faith Driven Consumers are concerned about from a biblical perspective.  This means that this economically powerful market segment is more likely to stop doing business with brands that directly or indirectly support morally and culturally divisive issues that conflict with biblical values.

In order to reap the bottom-line benefits of integrating with this market segment representing one-out-of-every-six American adults, retailers that are unable to embrace a biblical position on the “hot-button” issues of the day must at least be willing to take a neutral position.  And they must take steps to effectively and sincerely engage Faith Driven Consumers by creating resonant messages demonstrating an understanding of how they differ from other niche markets.

4. Embrace their way of doing things
Like any other niche segment, Faith Driven Consumers want their voices to be heard. Instead of boycotting those retailers who are in conflict with their worldview, research shows that Faith Driven Consumers prefer to “buycott” faith-compatible retailers who view them as a market segment worth pursuing. Here, embracing their ways simply means giving Faith Driven Consumers a reason to be brand loyal.

Is your brand engaging Faith Driven Consumers in these four ways?  Do you understand them in ways that will bring you an advantage over the competition?



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