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Survey Shows Americans Want To See CSR Results
October 25, 2012
When it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), consumers want more than aspirational mission statements, according to the results of a new survey by Cone Communications. The Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker survey found 84 percent of Americans hold companies accountable for producing and communicating the results of CSR commitments.
Companies that proactively share the details and results of their CSR efforts will be rewarded with increased consumer trust and purchasing, Cone said; therefore, ineffective CSR communications can be a liability. Survey highlights include:
- 86 percent of consumers are more likely to trust a company that reports its CSR results
- 82 percent say they are more likely to purchase a product that clearly demonstrates the results of the company’s CSR initiatives than one that does not
- 40 percent say they will not purchase a company’s products or services if CSR results are not communicated
Although today’s savvy consumers understand companies must realize bottom-line benefits from CSR efforts, they need more guidance and understanding about how their participation makes a difference, Cone said.
- 84 percent recognize that for a company to make societal impact, it must also realize a business return, such as increased revenue or reduced costs
- 63 percent say they don’t know where to find information about a company’s CSR efforts and results
- 55 percent don’t understand the impact they are having when buying a product from a company that says it is socially responsible
“Companies need to build customized output and outcome measurement components and identify projected stakeholder return at the outset of campaign development, and then track progress along the critical CSR pillars of business, brand and society,” says Cone's Executive Vice President Jonathan Yohannan. “With the stakes so high, measurement can’t be an afterthought or add-on.”
The 2012 Cone Communications Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker presents the findings of an online survey of 1,019 U.S. adults conducted August 6-8, 2012 by ORC International. The margin of error is ± 3%.
The survey coincides with Cone's launch of a new suite of proprietary products and tools to help companies more effectively measure CSR impact.
At the Sustainable Brands '12 conference in San Diego, CA, Cone's Senior Vice President Liz Gorman discussed the top concerns of consumers worldwide about the current state of business. Watch the video.
@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant.