Study: Products with social purpose incite purchase
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- Corporate Social Responsiblity
Fifth annual global consumer study exploring consumer attitudes around social purpose shows that brands aligning themselves with a cause gain greater consumer support.
Consumers in the U.S. are scaling back their participation in societal issues more than their peers throughout the world, according to the 2012 goodpurpose® study from Edelman. With 82% of U.S. consumers affected by the economic downturn, the percentage of consumers involved in a cause dropped from 60% to 53% between 2010 and 2012—the only decline among the 16 countries surveyed. Yet, for the first time ever, the U.S. was the only country to believe the responsibility of tackling society’s issues falls most heavily on the shoulders of “people like me” (35%) and not government (22%).
“The tension of this paradox spells significant opportunity for marketers. While U.S. consumers currently have less time and money to put toward societal issues, they still feel they’re most responsible to help,” says Carol Cone, global practice chair, Business + Social Purpose, Edelman. “Brands and corporations can ease the burden for consumers by making involvement in social issues easier and more aligned with the core needs they face today—jobs, hunger, education, and healthcare.”
Purpose provides purchase trigger
Despite the declining involvement in the U.S., Purpose remains a deeply held belief around the globe that is driving consumer behavior and preference. When quality and price of a product are deemed equal, social purpose has consistently been the leading purchase trigger for global consumers since 2008, muscling design and innovation and brand loyalty aside. Over those years, the relevance of Purpose as a purchase factor has risen 26% globally. Growth has been even more prominent over the last 18 months in markets such as Japan (+100%), China (+79%), the Netherlands (+43%), India (+43%), and Germany (+36%).
Brands aligning themselves with causes are not only securing more consumer consideration, but are also earning their dollars and support. Nearly half (47%) of consumers have bought a brand at least monthly that supports a cause, representing a 47% increase from 2010.
Over the years, consumers have taken increased action on behalf of brands with Purpose:
• 39% increase in “would recommend” cause-related brands
• 34% increase in “would promote” cause-related brands
• 9% increase in “would switch” brands if a similar brand supported a good cause
“It’s not the if, it’s the how,” says Jackie Cooper, global vice chair, Edelman Brand Properties. “Purpose needs to become a core competency for leading brands and corporations. Companies need to build social equity into their brands, from product innovation, to employee engagement to marketing communications.”
The study found that consumers are calling for business leaders to genuinely embed Purpose into their everyday operations:
• 56% believe CEOs need to create innovative products that are socially responsible
• 55% believe CEOs need to make a long-term commitment to address societal issues
• 55% believe CEOs need to publically support societal issues
• 52% believe CEOs need to motivate employees to take part in societal issues
goodpurpose 2012 also reveals that Purposeful organizations that treat employees well, listen to customers, and work to protect the environment drive not only future trust, but also future purchase intent.
“Purpose, a brand or company’s reason for being beyond profits, is now pervasive around the globe,” says Cone. “For Purpose-driven initiatives to gain their greatest impact, both business and social, they must be in line with larger socioeconomic trends and customized to meet the ever- changing needs of consumers.”