2007 Cone Cause Evolution And Environmental Survey
This study focuses on consumers’ expectations for American companies and how their perceptions can influence purchasing, employment, and investment decisions. The results show that corporate responsibility has a significant impact on consumer purchase decisions, as well as employee loyalty.
Cone research reveals that “Americans have become more likely to consider a company’s reputation when making purchase, employment, and investment decisions.” The 2004 survey initially showed that American consumers seek out socially and environmentally responsible companies, and the more recent 2007 study shows that consumers, employees, and investors now expect to have responsible practices in place. There are more cause-related campaigns in place than ever before, and more companies are using “Socially Aligned Business Initiatives” to leverage operations and scale to drive sustainable social change while continuing to provide business growth opportunities.
Findings from Cone’s 2007 Research: [Excerpted from report]
- Cause has gone mainstream.
- While cause promotions remain an effective business strategy to increase short-term sales, superficial one-offs are no longer enough.
- Commitment to cause extends beyond consumers to employees, investors, and other key stakeholders.
- Employees are especially important to consider, as the home and workplace continue to merge.
- Business practices are an additional purchasing influence.
- Americans recognize that in addition to issues they care about, companies should address causes that are relevant to their businesses.
- The environment and economic development are among the top four causes Americans want companies to address.
- Consumers may become activists if companies engage in negative business practices.
- Relevant and compelling communication are key to breaking through.
- 83% of American say that companies have a responsibility to help support causes.
- 92% have a more positive image of a company that supports a cause they care about.
- 87% are likely to switch from one product to another (price and quality being equal) if the other product is associated with a good cause, an increase from 66% since 1993.
- 30% have told a family member or friend about a product or company after hearing about its commitment to social issues (down from 43% in 2004).
- 36% have purchased a product from a company after hearing about its commitment to social issues (down from 43% in 2004).
- 75% of men consider a company’s commitment to social issues when deciding what to buy or where to shop in 2007 (compared to 58% in 2004).
- 84% of women felt similarly, compared to 68% in 2004.
- 72% of Americans want their employers to do more to support a social issue (52% in 2004).
- 89% of those familiar with their companies’ cause programs feel strongly loyal to their employers.
- 93% say it is important for companies to provide them with opportunities to become involved in social issues.
- In the food and beverage industry, 12% consider social causes, 31% consider business practices, 39% consider both and 18% consider none of these when deciding what to buy.