Consumers around the world are interested in companies that have implemented programs to give back to society, and the numbers are growing.
And that interest is translating into a willingness to spend more on products and services from companies that give back to society. From 2011 to 2013, willingness to spend more increased in 43 out of 58 countries measured in Nielsen's latest Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility. Across demographic groups, social-consciousness is also a growing factor in the purchase process.
"Today, the question is not whether consumers care about social impact, but which ones, how much and how to appeal to them," said Nic Covey, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Nielsen. "The answer isn't necessarily a traditional cause-marketing campaign—general responsibility, sustainable innovation and purpose messaging might also engage these consumers. No matter the approach, savvy brands are figuring out how to hit this nerve."
For companies interested in getting started, first compare your brand's consumer segments and markets against the rates of social-consciousness shown in the chart below. Are your customers more or less likely to care? Next, determine whether traditional modes of cause-marketing or "transactional philanthropy" can and should be authentically executed by your brand.
Alternatively or in addition, are there messages of core purpose and shared value about the brand that you could more deliberately communicate to consumers? When effectively conveyed, a powerful purpose demonstrating shared value ought to be more effective and sustainable than a stand-alone cause effort any day, but this approach will not work for every brand and category.
Find ways to appeal to this segment of consumers and your brand is bound to reap rewards and feel good about it along the way.
Other findings include:
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen's Consumers Who Care report
- Willingness to spend more on socially responsible products by demographic group.
- Willingness to spend more on socially responsible products by country.
- A gap between willingness to spend more on socially-responsible products and self-reporting purchasing habits.
.About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility was conducted between February 18 and March 8, 2013 and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10 million online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.