Earlier this year, I wrote a post here on the Corporate Eye Blog called 2010 – The Year of Brand Transparency, Honesty and Trust, and now, research is in that supports that prediction. Weakened economies and uncertainty have caused consumers to be less naive in terms of simply believing marketing messages, and the power of the social Web in boosting global communications to new heights of access and information sharing has created a new world where consumer expectations are less accepting and more “prove it to me” than ever before.
According to an article on Brandweek, A new study by Landor Associates, Penn Schoen Berland and Burson-Marsteller reports that, “75% of consumers believe social responsibility is important, and 55% of consumers said they would choose a product that supports a particular cause against similar products that don’t.”
The study also revealed some opportunities for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition not just with cause marketing and socially responsible programs but through education. Many consumers still don’t understand what “corporate social responsibility” is. At the same time, many consumers in the aforementioned study revealed they would be willing to pay more for products from a socially responsible company — as much as $10 more. The opportunity to educate consumers about a socially responsible brand, differentiate it from the competition as such, and attach a premium price to it could be significant.
Furthermore, 50% of 18-34 years olds surveyed in this study claimed that they would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company. That leads one to believe that socially responsible brand messages could have a bigger effect on brand building and sales in specific, younger demographics. Again, this is an opportunity to craft effective messages for specific audience segments.
Consumers have changed over the course of the past few years. Your branding and marketing messages need to change with them.
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