A large majority of Americans seek opportunity to assist socially conscious causes through brand marketing, according to a new study from strategy/communications agency Cone LLC.
Americans Seek Corporate Opportunities for Charity
The “2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study” indicates eight in 10 (81%) Americans want companies to give them the opportunity to buy a cause-related product, with 88% saying this purchase would not replace traditional donations they would otherwise make.
Another 80% want companies to give them the opportunity to learn about a social or environmental issue, and 78% want companies to provide the opportunity to change their behavior.
More than seven in 10 consumers also want companies to provide charitable opportunities such as donating to a sponsored non-profit and volunteering.
Whole Program Has Biggest Consumer Impact
The whole program offered by companies participating in cause marketing has the largest impact on consumer buying decisions by a slim margin. When many products in the same category support a cause, 87% of consumers say the social/environmental impact of the whole program influences which product they chose, while 86% say the amount per product sold which gets donated is an influencer.
Other top influencers in this instance include the social/environmental impact of an individual purchase (85%) and total amount given to the cause (83%).
Info Critical to Purchase
When a company doesn’t provide the cause information they demand, only about one-third (31%) of consumers will make the purchase anyway. Another 19% will choose another brand. Other popular responses to a lack of information include visiting a corporate website/calling a 1-800 number (16%) and not making the purchase at all (15%).
Consumers Back Local Causes
A full 91% of consumers say a company should choose a cause important in the communities where they do business. The same percentage say a company should choose a cause consistent with responsible business practices.
In addition, 89% of consumers want a company to choose a cause important to its customers, 88% say a company should choose a cause where it can have the most positive impact, and 85% value the opinion of a company’s employees in making this decision.
Employees Seek Cause Opportunities, As Well
Companies can also achieve internal marketing benefits from cause marketing efforts. Eighty-one percent of employees want companies to offer matching grants and 77% want companies to match non-profit donations dollar-for-dollar. Seventy percent or more also seek opportunities such as paid time to volunteer and paid sabbaticals.
For companies, the investment may well be worth it. Study data indicates employees who are very involved in their company’s cause program are 28% more likely to be proud of their company’s values and 36% more likely to feel a strong sense of loyalty than those who are not involved.
9 in 10 Americans Accept Cause Marketing
The “2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study” also indicates 88% of Americans say it is acceptable for companies to involve a cause or issue in their marketing, 85% of consumers have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about, and 90% of consumers want companies to tell them the ways they are supporting causes.
About the Data: The 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study presents the findings of an online survey conducted July 29-30, 2010 by ORC among a demographically representative US sample of 1,057 adults comprising 512 men and 545 women 18 years of age and older.