NEW YORK — A new Zeno study finds brands reap big benefits by having a well-known purpose, with consumers four to six times more likely to buy, trust, champion and defend companies they see as purposeful.

“This is really showing there is a bottom line benefit of leading with purpose,” said Alison DaSilva, Zeno’s managing director, purpose & impact.

The findings are based on a survey of 8,000 people in eight countries (US, Canada, UK, France, China, India, Singapore and Malaysia) who were asked to rate the strength of 75 brands’ purposes based on criteria including: fair treatment of all employees; products or services that reflect the needs of people today; ethical and sustainable business practices; support for important social causes; creation of new job opportunities; diverse and inclusive culture; issue advocacy; and strong values.

The survey found having strong purpose benefits companies across regions and generations, with 82% of consumers saying they took action to support a company when they believed in its purpose by purchasing the brand or encouraging others to do so.

94% of global consumers said they want companies they engage with to have a strong purpose, and 83% said companies should only earn a profit if they have a positive impact.

However, only 37% of respondents believe companies actually have a clear and strong purpose.

“What this showed to us is expectations are high, and consumers are willing to put their money and wallet behind companies leading with purpose. But I don’t believe companies have taken the time and attention to articulate that purpose and pull it through business and brand,” DaSilva said. “The opportunity is there to really gain that competitive advantage.”

The study also found 76% of global consumers would act against brands if they disagree with their purpose by no longer buying from the brand, switching to a competitor, or discouraging others from buying or supporting it.

That behavior appears strongest among younger generations, with 88% of Gen Z and millennials saying they were more likely to act negatively towards a brand they disagreed with. Primary actions included sharing their opinions with family and friends, whereas boomers and matures were more likely to act with their wallets, saying they would stop buying from the brand altogether.

DaSilva said companies should consider the survey results in mapping out business plans.

“Find your purpose. Articulate that purpose and figure out how that purpose can build and guide business decisions, guide what issues you want to stand up for, and how that purpose guides how you