With the global recession in the rear view mirror many businesses are getting back to “business as usual,” and consumers and brands are once again leveraging various marketing strategies to capture their attention. According to a recent survey conducted byLoyaltyOne Inc. and the Canadian Marketing Association released last week 78 per cent of Canadian consumers feel that companies that support social causes have every right to make a big deal of it through advertising and marketing. Similarly, 77 per cent feel that if a company supports a cause, the company should include this in their marketing.
“We may be known for modesty but when it comes to businesses that support social causes, Canadians have no issue with some good old fashioned bragging,” said Andrew Souvaliotis, Chief Impact Officer, AIR MILES for Social Change. “If companies need any further incentive to act responsibly, this research demonstrates that their customers not only want to know about their efforts but that it could be very good for business.”
According to the survey results, hot-button topics dominate consumers’ focus when it comes to choosing the ‘most important’ social issues on their minds: Healthcare, children’s issues and education were rated “very important’ by 50 per cent or more of survey respondents. Surprisingly, given the rising consumer interest in green products and global warming, green issues were rated “very important” by only 46 per cent of respondents.
One thing that separates Canadians is that we are not afraid to roll up out sleeves and get involved in social causes, and the same is true for brands they buy from and ensuring they make effort to support a cause. More than two-thirds of respondents (67 per cent) reported making a monetary donation to a cause. Nearly as many – 63 per cent – reported making non-monetary donations and more than half (55 per cent) of respondents said that they buy and/or sell products to support the charities they consider important.
Given current economic conditions, perhaps the most surprising finding may be that nearly two-thirds of respondents (59 per cent) said they were willing to pay more for products to support a cause. Of those who said they were willing to pay more, 18 per cent reported that they were already paying a premium to support their favourite causes.
Consumers Are Influencers in Promoting Social Causes
Respondents were overwhelmingly supportive of companies that align themselves with a cause and those that promote their relationships to a cause.
- A majority of respondents (84 per cent) agreed that it is important for a company to officially support a cause. A similar percentage said that when a company communicates its support of a social issue, it improves the company’s reputation.
- Three-quarters of respondents also mentioned that they would like companies to make them aware of the social issue they are supporting, and half of respondents said they would like to be informed whenever possible of a company’s efforts for a cause.
- Despite the buzz they generate, however, celebrities were named least influential in drawing consumer attention to a company’s social cause, with just four per cent ranking them a “very strong influence.” Family and friends, news reports and information from charities themselves were the top three influencers.