Cone Communications released their Sixth Corporate Social Responsibility Report in May. The overarching theme – 2017 will be remembered as the year that corporate social responsibility (CSR) was redefined. Although CSR will always be grounded in business operations – from water conservation to supply chain transparency – recently, the stakes have gotten a lot higher. Companies must now share not only what they stand for, but what they stand-up for.
Some of the key findings include:
Almost two-thirds of Americans want businesses to take the lead to move social and environmental change forward, in the wake of the current administration's lack of regulations on these fronts.
More than three-fourths would like to see social justice issues addressed by businesses.
Moreover, Americans are willing to put their money where their social responsibility feelings lie:
When a company advocates for a cause or issue they care about almost ninety percent will make a purchase to support the business.
On the flip side, three-fourths will NOT purchase if the business is supporting a cause or issue they don’t believe in!
Another key takeaway – most Americans believe that the most important action of corporate responsibility is treating employees well. Being a ‘good employer’ has spread beyond employee satisfaction and into the arena of impacting business sales. Well worth taking a look at your own employees’ satisfaction and highlighting its positive impact to consumers.
More than just corporate sponsorship and cause marketing, American consumers are looking for business to get involved in social justice issues like women’s rights, racial equality, and economic development, among others. Hot topic issues such as immigration, gun control, and LBGTQ rights are also expected to be on the CSR agenda. Consumers don’t want to do business with a company whose views do not reflect their own on issues of importance to them. More and more often Americans are ‘voting’ with their wallets.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a significant component of the purchasing decision for American consumers. To garner market share from them, authentic CSR must be part of the company’s culture and strategy, and it must be clearly, consistently communicated across all media.
As it has been since the first study in 1993, the 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study is overflowing with useful and actionable information, revealing insights and the pulse of the American consumer. I encourage you to get you own copy of the study and review it in detail; this is one area where you don’t want to fall behind!
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