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Insights & Innovation: Why equality matters

Brands have a growing mandate from consumers to make society and the environment safer—to stand for something both in purpose and action. From social justice to climate justice, the expectation of brands is to make an impact by prioritizing progress for all above – or at least alongside – profit.

As VoxMediaIQ – Vox Media’s social impact practice – looks to close the gap between purpose and impact, Vox Media believes there’s an opportunity for brands and media to do more of that together. As part of this work VoxMediaIQ undertook a study—Why Equality Matters. The objectives were to make the concept of equality more tangible for brands, understand what aspects of equality consumers are rallying around, how that impacts their spending habits, and why it should matter to marketers.

This study is part of Vox Media’s ongoing research on shifting social consciousness in these unprecedented times. In conducting this research, we found universal support among Vox Media’s audience for the Black Lives Matter movement and that the majority of our audience felt motivated to take some kind of action in support. Learn more about audiences’ perspective on the Black Lives Matter movement here.

Topline learnings:

The Vox Media audience seeks brands and editorial that align with their values—brands that take action and editorial that informs how to take action. Echoing the core values of VoxMediaIQ, our audience wants to participate in change. They strive to embody a new sense of conscious consumerism.

  • Across our 13 editorial networks, Vox Media readers defined equality as equal access to resources/opportunities (47%) regardless of their personal circumstances (53%), demonstrating a belief that we do not have equality until we have equity.
  • 80% of the Vox Media audience believe brands can have an impact on social issues and expect them to step up, even if it’s not related to their business. This has translated into how the audience spends as well – 65% of Vox Media readers have started using a brand because of a position or action it took, and 84% have stopped using a brand for the same reason.
  • Readers overwhelmingly agreed that journalism should help identify social issues (96%), tell stories of how they impact individuals (94%), and explain the meaning of inequality (92%).
  • When asked what social issues are the most problematic in the US, readers said all issues presented in the survey were relevant. That said, the greatest issues corresponded to where they saw the greatest inequalities.

Through this study we surfaced how Vox Media readers and non-Vox Media readers define equality, identified what issues matter most to them, explored readers’ expectations of brands, and examined the role of journalism. Download the full whitepaper here.

About VoxMediaIQ

Vox Media has always been dedicated to activating positive change in the world. Now we are harnessing that commitment – from our audience, editors, and partners – - with a playbook proven to achieve impact through expert storytelling and analysis. Vox MediaIQ is a playbook of tactics and capabilities proven to work for brands. We leverage this playbook to tell the stories of brands who are using their influence to make a net-positive impact on the world.