Best Practices: Companies Using Social Causes


To report on best practices for companies using social causes, in order to engage with consumers as well as avoid perceptions of only using a cause to gain sales (i.e. pink-washing or green-washing) and to see if a brand should market the product or the STORY heavily as a way to sell the product, which will be used to inform the creation of an e-commerce website.

Early Findings

  • A study by Mintel found that "as many as 56% of Americans will stop buying from brands that they believe are unethical."
  • In a global survey, "91% of consumers reported they were likely to switch to a brand that supports a good cause, given similar price and quality."
  • If done correctly, "aligning with a worthwhile cause can bolster reputation and create a lasting impact if done so correctly. It can engender a positive feeling among a customer base, who will feel good for choosing the ethical product. It can breed loyalty between customers, and staff, and the business."
  • Consumers are sensitive to marketing manipulation and can easily discern between what a company says and what it does. "Countless brands that have faced huge public backlash due to misguided cause marketing campaigns."
  • It is essential that brands are transparent when using the cause marketing technique. "They must demonstrate a genuine commitment to the cause they are supporting, and this commitment needs to be observed along the whole production line."

Consumer Behavior

  • "One-third of all consumers today will stop buying their preferred products if they lose trust in the brand, and one-third of consumers have already stopped purchasing their longtime, favorite brands in 2019."
  • "72% of Americans say they feel it is more important than ever that the companies they buy from reflect their values. 76% say supporting companies that are addressing social and environmental issues helps them feel they are doing their part. Nearly 86% of consumers say they’re likely to purchase from purpose-driven companies."
  • "64 % of consumers feel that it is 'extremely important' for a company to take a stand on a social issue and were ‘very likely’ to purchase a product based on that commitment."
  • "60% of consumers say brands should make it easier to see its values and its position on important issues at the point of sale."

Millennials and Gen Z

  • "83% of Millennials say it’s important for the companies they buy from to align with their beliefs and values."
  • "90% of Gen Z believes companies must act to help social and environmental issues and 75% will do research to see if a company is being honest when it takes a stand on issues."
  • "67% have stopped purchasing (40%) or would consider doing so (27%) if the company stood for something or behaved in a way that didn’t align to their values."
  • "71% of Millennials said they would pay more for a product if they knew some of the proceeds went to charity."

Best Practices

Based on the aforementioned statistics, some best practices include:
  • Establishing trust with consumers, by showing a brand is committed to the social issue it is aligning with.
  • Making sure the brand is committed to being honest and transparent when taking a stand on issues.
  • Making it easier to see a brands value and position on important issues at the point of sale.

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