Brands live in a world of constant motion. The global pandemic, accelerating climate change and social tensions are transforming our lives at warp speed. Yesterday isn’t just gone, it’s ancient history.

For the fifth year, WE partnered with YouGov to quantify that world of motion and understand how brands can navigate it. The 2021 Brands in Motion report, “The Bravery Mandate,” finds that the brands that will flourish in 2021 and beyond are the ones with the courage to take bold actions and make strong stances with the full understanding that not everyone will approve.

What did we find?

  • The expectation that brands provide stability is rising, but perceived impact remains flat. Audiences want brands to help, but aren't convinced that they're delivering.
  • Being a purpose leader requires prioritizing employees and local community members and engaging them in deeper and more courageous conversations.
  • Authenticity is key: Consumers and B2B decision-makers are increasingly skeptical and even cynical of brands' motives when it comes to purposeful work.

About Brands in Motion


Brand Purpose is a Must-Have—For Today's Bottom Line and Tomorrow's Legacy

30% increase in the number of respondents who expect brands to create stability
Two out of three are more likely to buy from brands that address the issues that matter to them GIF
58% say brands must comment very frequently to be a leading voice on societal issues GIF

Before Brands Try to Save the World, They Need to Look In Their Own BackYards

#1 issue for a brand to be considered a purpose leader in most sectors surveyed is employee well-being GIF
41% expect brands to focus on local communities before global issues GIF
87% say brands have a moral obligation to engage with issues that impact their employees


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