Customer Attitudes to Community-Business Partnerships
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental, social and community records of companies through the media, campaigns by activist groups like GetUp!
, and advertising paid for by companies proud of their good work.
While there has been some Australian research on consumer attitudes to businesses practising corporate responsibility, much more research has been done in Europe and America.
That research shows not only a growing awareness of corporate responsibility, but also an increasing number of consumers looking to show their support for responsible business practices through their purchases.
Cause-related marketing secures more product purchases than regular advertising, according to research conducted by Cone
and Duke University.
- 74% more participants purchased shampoo after viewing cause-related marketing than those who viewed regular marketing
- 28% more participants purchases toothpaste after viewing cause-related marketing than those who viewed a regular advertisement for the same product
Cone has been conducting research into consumer responses to cause-related marketing for 15 years. In 2008 American consumers told Cone:
- They would be likely to switch from one brand to another if the new brand was associated with a good cause (79%
- They have a more positive image of a product or company that supports a cause they care about (85%)
- Companies should tell them how they are supporting causes (92%)
A study by Worthington di Marzio for Cavill + Co
found Australian consumers were increasingly likely to be influenced in their purchasing decisions by a company's association with a cause.
The 2001 study of more than 750 consumers found:
- The number of consumers influenced to buy a product or service because of a company's association with a cause had almost doubled (from 19% to 34%) when compared to a similar study conducted in 1997.
- More consumers expected Australian companies to be more involved in supporting charitable or community causes (almost six out of ten, compared to 50% four years before).
- Considering similar products in terms of price and quality, 77% of consumers would prefer to purchase a product associated with a cause, and 54% would switch from their normal brand.
- More than a third of consumers were influenced to buy a company's products or services in the previous year because of its association with a charitable or community cause.
- A company's contribution to charitable or community causes ranked seventh on a scale of Consumer Purchasing Influence Factors, ahead of its media advertising, its customer loyalty programs and its sponsorship of sporting events or the arts.
- The percentage of consumers who would consider changing their current brand to a cause-associated brand had risen from 49% four years ago to 54% in 2001 and the percentage of consumers likely to switch to a retailer associated with a cause had risen markedly from 45% four years ago to 56%.
A Research International survey published in AdNews in 2001 found
- "81% of people agreed that when price and quality were equal, they were more likely to buy a product associated with a cause"
A Cone/Roper Survey published in AdNews in 2001 found:
- "23% of respondents thought celebrity endorsement was important in product choice but 68% - just under three times as many - thought supporting a cause was important."
Market and Opinion Research International (MORI) and CSR Europe
conducted the first consumer survey of attitudes toward CSR in late 2000. They surveyed 12,000 consumers across 12 European countries and found:
- 70% of consumers surveyed said a company's commitment to social responsibility was important when buying a product or service.
- 20% of consumers surveyed said they would be "very willing'' to pay more for products that were socially or environmentally responsible.
A 1999 survey from British based organisation Business in the Community, entitled The Ultimate Win Win Win, found:
- 81% of consumers agree that they are more likely to buy a product that is associated with a cause they care about, price and quality being equal.
- 67% of consumers surveyed agreed Cause Related Marketing should be a standard part of a company's activities.
- 86% of consumers had a more positive image of a company they see doing something to make the world a better place.