As the call to action for community service and helping others becomes more vocal, it is apparent that many non-profit organizations would not be successful without the support of businesses and their brands. But is the benefit reciprocal? Nielsen conducted a global study in March trying to determine that very question. Does cause marketing—the use of social and environmental efforts to build a brand and increase profits—work? There is, the study found, certainly a segment of consumers who are socially conscious and do care.
Overall, 46 percent of global online consumers surveyed said they were willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that are giving back – though there’s a wide range of social consciousness across regions and demographics. Consumers in Asia Pacific are more likely to be “socially conscious consumers” for instance, and so are younger consumers (63 percent of the group is younger than 40).
The study also examined the causes that are important to this segment. From a list of 18 possible causes, the top three causes that consumers are most willing to support are ensuring environmental sustainability, eradicating poverty and hunger and improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) training and education.
Nic Covey, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Nielsen, introduced the Consumer 360 Insight Session, Cause Marketing: Successful Brands Care, with insights from the report and conducted a discussion with Nancy Roman, Director of Communications, Public Policy and Private Partnerships, World Food Programme and Dr. Tara Acharya, Sr. Manager, Global Health and Agriculture Policy, Pepsico, about their collaborative work in Ethiopia: Enterprise EthioPEA.
Pepsico and the World Food Programme recently joined forces to support the development of a new chickpea-based product to combat hunger in Ethiopia. The two organizations are working with a local food producer as well as the Ethiopian government to scale capacity. The long-range goal is self-sustainability.
For organizations interested in expanding their cause marketing initiatives, the panelists recommended starting with a close examination of expertise and an assessment of how that expertise aligns with the expectations of both customers and society as a whole. When the time is right to create broader awareness of your program, social media is an ideal focal point for companies’ communications efforts.
Nielsen made a concerted effort to make this year’s Consumer 360 its “greenest” conference ever. Thanks to close collaboration between Nielsen and the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida, which hosted the conference the goal was set to reduce paper waste by 80 percent. Additionally, the use of disposable food packaging was limited and all leftover food was donated to a nearby hunger agency.