What’s Behind the (Social) Purpose of a Purchase?

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It was the traditional end-of-year holiday season that used to bring to the forefront the very legitimate impulse to help those less fortunate, to remember the needy. Indeed, charities and causes have always been true to the heart and close to the passions of most people involved in the eyecare and eyewear arenas. Whether it’s making products and services available to those without means or access or by rallying around sight-threatening issues, giving back has always been an important part of the vision care community.

Increasingly, though, over the past several years, there’s a new dimension to what purchasing “with intent” has come to mean among broad segments of consumers. Purpose is not limited to a season. Corporate social responsibility, from company policies toward its workplace environment, its associates and employees, to a business or brand’s visible voice and positions on social concerns, climate change and sustainability are being counted—and not just in terms of perceptions and good image but in terms of support-with-purpose (or, in some cases non-support).

As VM’s Cover Topic this issue illustrates and reflects, the culture is much more attuned to socially-responsible causes in general. Lack of access to care is a widespread issue for many health care causes. Disease prevention and research needs assistance. A range of natural disasters and tragedies including floods, hurricanes, devastating fires have overwhelmed relief groups and strained government resources and services.

Today, virtually instant digital social communication can spread positive and negative stories and developments quickly. All has contributed to a changing mindset among many consumers, yes among Millennials, but also among all age groups and customer types. Increasingly, as our story points out, “they donate, they volunteer, they protest, and, increasingly, they shop with intent.”

And this is a no longer a passing trend, but a characteristic of today’s and tomorrow’s business climate.

From all of us to all of you, we wish you only great things in the coming New Year. Happy Holidays from all of us at Vision Monday.

maxelrad@jobson.com