BOSTON -- Consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions to reward companies that support social causes, according to a new study.
The events of Sept. 11 have made Americans more inclined to form opinions about a company's brand and reputation based on its corporate citizenship, according to the 2001 Cone/Roper Corporate Citizenship Study, commissioned by Cone here, a strategic philanthropic consultancy.
In October 2001, 81% of respondents said they are "likely to switch brands, when price and quality are equal to support a cause," up from 54% who said the same in March 2001. Likewise, in October, 77% said "a company's commitment to causes is important when I decide what to buy or where to shop," up from 52% who said the same in March 2001.
"More than ever, Americans want to know about companies' corporate citizenship efforts, and they will form opinions of a company's brand and reputation based on those efforts," said Carol Cone, chief executive officer, Cone.
More than three-quarters of Americans believe that companies have a responsibility to help support causes (79% in October 2001 vs. 65% in March 2001)
Almost nine in 10 Americans say that during an economic downturn and period of tighter consumer spending, it is important for companies to continue supporting causes (88% in October 2001 vs. 71% in March 2001).
In light of the events of Sept. 11, 85% of Americans believe it is more important than ever for the companies they do business with to support the needs of society.
The highest percentage of Americans in Cone/Roper poll history say they have a more positive image of companies and products that support causes they care about (92% in October 2001 vs. 81% in March 2001 vs. 85% in 1993).
Today, more than ever, a company's commitment to social issues is an important consideration in a variety of Americans' decisions.
More than three-quarters of Americans say they are likely to consider a company's reputation for supporting causes when purchasing gifts this holiday season (76% in 2001 vs. 61% in 2000).
Almost two-thirds of Americans have purchased or plan to purchase a holiday gift that supports a cause this year (64% in 2001 vs. 56% in 2000).
Almost nine in 10 Americans agree that companies should tell them the ways they are supporting causes (88% in October 2001 vs. 73% in March 2001).
For the first time in Cone/Roper poll history, advertising tops Americans' list of the ways they have heard of a company's involvement with causes.