Attraction To ‘Do Good’ Brands Is Escalating

Marketing Daily logo 2 According to Edelman Worldwide's "goodpurpose Consumer Study" of 6,000 people in 10 countries, 57% believe a brand earned their support as a result of its support for causes.  83% of respondents would consider changing their consumption behaviors if would be better for the greater good and 67% would switch brands if the alternative was more socially conscious.

Posted Oct. 21, 2009
By Aaron Baar, MarketingDaily

Whether despite or because of the
recession, consumers are more inclined than ever to spend their money
with companies and brands that have dedicated themselves to a social
purpose, according to new findings from Edelman Worldwide's
"goodpurpose Consumer Study."

According to the global survey
of 6,000 people in 10 countries, 57% say a brand has earned their
business because of its works supporting social causes. Furthermore,
61% say they have purchased a brand that supports a good cause even
when it wasn't the cheapest option, and 67% said they would switch
brands if another brand of similar quality supported a cause they were
interested in.

"The trend [of increased corporate social
responsibility] was happening before the recession, but it's escalating
now," Mitch Markson, Edelman's chief creative officer, president of its
brand consulting group and founder of its goodpurpose practice, tells Marketing Daily. "The seeds were there before, but I think this [recession] has accelerated its importance."

According to the survey, 83% of global consumers say they are willing
to change their consumption habits if it helps make the world a better
place to live, and 68% feel it's becoming unacceptable not to make
efforts to show concern for the environment or live a healthy
lifestyle.

Consumers expect their purchases to reflect those
attitudes; 64% of them said they expect companies to support causes.
"We saw consumers saying they expected companies to give equal weight
to societal and business goals," Markson says. "In the past, corporate
social responsibility was about mitigating risk. I think that's
starting to change."

While some factors of the recession —
such as people having less disposable income to spend on their own
social causes and instead looking for brands to pick up the slack —
have had an effect on the importance of social responsibility for
consumers, Markson gives more credit to the rise of social networking
and the transparency of the Internet. "Social media is really driving
the conversation and action," he says. "Because of social networks, all
of this has been reinstated and refueled."

With such
transparency (and an increase in consumer awareness of corporate social
responsibility), marketers will have to make sure their social
responsibility efforts are authentic, Markson says. No longer can a
company just donate money to a cause and leave it at that. "It has to
have imagination and be a good idea and have a shelf life," he says.
"If you're really being authentic about a social cause, it can't just
be a promotion."

The benefits can be enormous. Not only are
consumers willing to switch to brands that support causes they care
about, they're also willing to recommend them to others. According to
the survey, 64% said they would recommend a brand that supports a good
cause (up from 52% last year), and 59% said they would help a brand
promote its products if there were a good cause behind them.

And they are more willing to give up on luxuries to buy products that
carry some importance to them. According to the survey, 67% of global
consumers said they would prefer to buy a hybrid vehicle over a luxury
car (33%) and 70% would prefer owning an eco-friendly house rather than
a large house.

"Social purpose is the new social status,"
Markson says. "[Marketers] have to figure out how to build a bridge
between corporate social responsibility and the brand."

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