Facing today’s tense political debates, contentious headlines and an ‘us vs. them’ mentality, it’s easy to see why 80% of people believe society is more divided than ever. Yet many think social has the power to heal these fractures.

In fact, an overwhelming majority of consumers (91%) believe social can connect people, and they want brands to use their influence to bridge the growing divide. To understand exactly what people want, we surveyed over 1,000 consumers on their beliefs, expectations and how they think brands can nurture real connection through social.

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People see brands in a new light: They believe brands are in a position to build relationships through social media. Nearly four in five consumers (78%) want brands to take an active role by using social to help people connect with each other.

A unique position

More than media coverage or sheer reach, 81% of consumers feel that brands are uniquely able to connect people because of their diverse consumer bases.

Why consumers believe brands are able to connect people of varying beliefs and backgrounds

They appeal to a diverse range of people

81% believe this

They have large platforms to reach people

72% believe this

They receive substantial media coverage

58% believe this

Why consumers want brands to use social media to help connect people with each other

55%

Connect with like-minded people

52%

Meet people different from them

42%

Learn new skills

36%

Build community

26%

Not feel alone

Bridge the gap

People don’t just want brands to connect them with like-minded communities—52% of consumers want brands to connect them with people who have different viewpoints.

The value of connection

Connection is key to the bottom line: 76% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from a brand they feel connected to over a competitor.

When customers feel connected to brands, they are more likely to...

76%
Buy over a competitor

68%
Recommend brand to a friend

64%
Be loyal to that brand or business

57%
Spend more with the brand

How consumers define connection with brands

The role of CEOs and employees in building bridges

How fostering relationships gives brands a competitive edge

Examples of industry-leading brands putting this into practice