Do the Right Thing

I’m the first to admit that market research can sometimes mislead us. When polled, people are routinely more eco-friendly, more philanthropic, more tolerant of diversity and frankly, more the way they wish to be than the way they actually are. Still, I was struck by Cone’s newly released 2010 Cause Evolution Study. Consumers are giving more than mere lip service to cause-conscious products and companies, they are breaking out their wallets for them.

There has been a two-fold increase in products purchased that benefit a cause since 1993. That this behavioral shift is occurring, and at an ever increasing pace, despite persistently high unemployment lends credence to the following indicators:

  • 83% of consumers want more products, services retailers that benefit causes.
  • 80% said cause marketing would make them likely to switch brands.

While this is no doubt great news for the Ethos Water’s of the world, it’s a trend that is clearly underleveraged by most marketers.

Take healthcare organizations’ messaging for example. Such and such hospital ranked in the top 10% nationally, compared to its cross-town rival with a four-star rating from Healthgrades. Our hospital has an affiliation with a national flagship hospital. I’d argue that it is time for a dialogue shift.

Few hospitals have ever shone a light on the level of charity care they provide. I understand that no organization wants to be synonymous with indigent care. Still, a history of care, regardless of one’s ability to pay, may well go a long way when healthcare reform enables more universal insurance coverage.

At the same time, you don’t have to be saving lives to stand for something meaningful. Our clients at Moe’s Southwest Grill have seen double-digit growth in same store sales at many of their locations this year. A major difference between this and last year has been continual reporting on Facebook and Twitter about the tremendous number of children’s charities and schools supported by the franchisee group. In this case, customer loyalty is a welcome byproduct of giving back.

Community service feels great, and you might not do it for the recognition. That’s admirable, but recognize your customers do care, and they are watching.

This entry was written by Kevin Smith, posted on October 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm, filed under Consumer Behavior, Social Consciousness, Trend: Considerism. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

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