This is a continuation of a post on Cone Communications and Echo Global’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) study.
Not only does this study explore the relationship between companies, consumers, and cause, but it also gives critical insight into global consumption behavior, provides profiles of consumers, showcases individual countries, and recommends ways companies can engage with consumers to foster loyal, trustworthy brands.
American as apple pie. Noting that the U.S. “pioneered broad-based philanthropy,” Cone states Americans are almost twice as likely as global peers to look to companies to focus on making donations.
Benefits are overwhelming. Consumers are overwhelmingly supportive of CSR. It increases the company’s image (96% have a more positive view of the brand), trust (94%), and loyalty (93%).
Employees want in. Companies that engage in CSR in meaningful, transparent, and holistic ways will experience retention and recruitment of high-caliber employees. 81% of individuals factor in CSR to their decision around where to work.
Can you give me a recommendation? CSR factors into decisions around endorsements too. A whopping 85% state CSR factors into corporate recommendations.
Reputation builder, brand affinity. It’s fair to say that I’m one of the 9 in 10 Americans who is more likely to trust and be more loyal to companies supporting CSR.
"Americans feel a deep sense of responsibility to make the world a better place and are actively participating in CSR efforts such as making donations (65% vs. 60% globally) and volunteering (42% vs. 37% globally)."
Plus, Americans want to know what the effects of CSR promises are – underscoring the importance of communicating impact, what on-the-ground changes are occurring due to a company’s philanthropic work
One-size-fits-none. Attempting to template CSR plan—within one company or among multiple companies—simply does not work. American consumers look to companies to not only communicate their CSR work, but to also engage with them personally.
Social media is a great way to achieve both. Consumers already have a platform to express praise or voice concern over a company’s cause initiative. However when a company provides a megaphone for that consumer, by engaging with or sharing consumer feedback, trust is enhanced.
Results not press releases. More than anything, consumers want to see that the proof is in the pudding. Rather than touting how big this year’s corporate grants were, explain where the money went, why the company chose to support this cause, and how dollars impacted the nonprofits.
Happy 4th of July!
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