‘Purpose’ influences consumer choice

The recent global GoodPurpose consumer study has revealed some interesting findings.

Consumers in Brazil, China, India, and Mexico are more likely to purchase and promote brands that support good causes, outpacing their peers in the West, according to the 4th annual GoodPurpose study.

In India and China, a commitment to supporting good causes has risen rapidly and dramatically since 2009, with the percentage of adults who are personally involved in supporting a good cause jumping 34 points in India, to 81 percent, and 23 points, to 89 percent, in China. This is compared to just over one half (54%) in major Western European economies.

While consumers in emerging markets now outrank their peers on several measures of commitment to social purpose, citizens around the world maintain a high level of interest and engagement in cause. For the fourth year running, in all European and North American countries surveyed, purpose is more important than design/innovation or brand loyalty as a purchase trigger when quality and price are the same.

66 percent of global consumers report that they are likely to buy and recommend products and services from companies that support a good cause.

“Purpose is absolutely central to marketing today. It is the ultimate avenue for consumer engagement and inclusion – two vital pieces of the successful marketing puzzle,” said John Quelch, Senior Associate Dean at Harvard Business School and coauthor of Greater Good: How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy.

“Today’s ‘citizen consumer’ demands that brands supply not products, but solutions – not functions, but benefits. Purpose does just that.”

“Purpose is now the fifth P of marketing. It’s a vital addition to the age-old marketing mix of product, price, place, and promotion,” said Mitch Markson, Chief Creative Officer, Edelman and the founder of Edelman GoodPurpose.

“Purpose allows brands to have a deeper level of engagement with their consumer—and it also allows consumers to put their own mark on brand marketing by collaborating with brands to tackle important social issues,” Mr. Markson said.

As consumer involvement rises, their expectation of brands and companies remains high. 86 percent of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on those of business. Two-thirds of global respondents expect brands to do something to support a good cause.

While consumers expect that companies show a commitment to good causes, they are also willing to punish those that do not. More than one-third of consumers globally would punish a company that doesn’t actively support a good cause, by criticizing it to others (37 percent), refusing to buy it (37 percent), or sharing negative opinions and experiences (38 percent). Nearly one half (46 percent) would not invest in such a company.

Additional Key Findings Include:

Sixty-nine percent of consumers globally believe corporations are in a uniquely powerful position to make a positive impact on good causes—as high as 80 percent in the U.S. and 82 percent in Mexico.

Nearly two-thirds of global respondents (64 percent) believe it is no longer enough for corporations to give money; they must integrate good causes into their everyday business.

Seventy percent of global consumers say that a company with fair prices that gives back is more likely to get their business than a company that offers deep discounts and doesn’t give back.

Globally, food and beverage tops the list of industries considered the most involved in good causes, along with media and healthcare providers.

“Protecting the environment” ranks as the no. 1 cause that global consumers care about, followed by “improving the quality of healthcare”.

Globally, 71 percent of consumers believe that projects that protect and sustain the environment can help grow the economy—with even higher numbers for China, Mexico, India, Brazil, and the U.S.

2010 GoodPurpose Consumer Study [3.1mb PDF]


About the Edelman GoodPurpose Study
The 2010 GoodPurpose study is Edelman’s 4th annual global consumer study that explores consumer attitudes around social purpose, including their commitment to specific social issues and their expectations of brands and corporations. The survey consisted of 20-minute interviews in 13 countries among 7,259 adults. Online interviews were conducted in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, UAE, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Face-to-face interviews were conducted in China and India. For more information, visit www.goodpurposecommunity.com.

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