Cone Communications and Echo Global’s annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) study is an eagerly anticipated report that explores global consumption, and how it relates to philanthropy.
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.
The report opens with this:
“The question is not whether companies will engage in corporate social responsibility, but how they will create real and meaningful impact. Corporate social responsibility is no longer an option — it is emphatically and indisputably a must-do.’
Here are some of the main lessons learned from the study. Be sure to grab a cup of coffee (or tea!) and download the report in its entirety.
The new business case for cause. Think ‘beyond the shopping aisle’: CSR builds positive brand reputation and recognition, deep loyalty, and corporate trust.
Communicating the good…and the bad is vital to retaining consumers and employees.
Holistic CSR approach is essential. Consumers are sophisticated, and deem one-off cause initiatives as throwaway events. In addition to believing companies should change operations to align more closely with social and environmental needs, consumers see tangible change as occurring via “meaningful shifts in operations, supply chains, and the very ways business is conducted.”
To make true impact, companies must embed CSR within the entirety of business operations. Through treatment of employees, philanthropic pursuits, sustainable and transparent supply chains, and environmental stewardship, consumers look to companies to have it all.
Show them how your company is addressing each category.
High expectations, forgivable offenses. While consumer expectations are high—93% want to see more products, services, and retailers support social and environmental issues—they are also incredibly forgiving. 85% of consumers say it’s okay for a company to be flawed, as long as it’s honest about CSR efforts.
Stay tuned for part II!
Images are screenshots of the 2013 Cone/Echo Global CSR Report