Brands are pricing products for social change

Signal of change / Brands are pricing products for social change

By Daniel Riveong / 11 Apr 2015

Brands are often challenged about their claims of caring about their community. Now some are putting money where their mouth is.

In the UK, Tesco is providing discounted products for families receiving government welfare. Another brand, AnchorFree, provides free software to Venezuelans to support them in bypassing government internet censorship.

A report by calls this new trend ‘sympathetic pricing’, defined as “Flexible and imaginative discounts that help ease lifestyle pain points, lend a helping hand in difficult times, or support a shared value.” The report highlights several examples from across the world of companies providing sympathetic pricing to support communities and promote their values.

So what?

Recent events, such as's boycott of Indiana over recent laws impacting the LGBT communities, suggest that some corporations are now willing to take a public stance based on their values. These brands may perceive the risk involved as slight, in comparison to potential gains through closer links to specific communities and their values.

Do these early instances of ‘sympathetic pricing’ herald a rising trend in corporations reflecting their social awareness and promoting certain social agendas through their pricing and business models, as well as through public statements? Will profit margins take the hit, or is this a win-win for business and society?

Sources (2014 June) Sympathetic Pricing

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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