This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

October 19, 2011

Consumers Worldwide Demand More CSR

A few years ago, we first reported the results from the global Cone Cause Survey, focusing on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Just last week, Cone (together with Echo Research) released a new report, the "2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study". Consumers are demanding a higher level of responsibility by companies in dealing with societal issues; consumers report they are already voting with their wallets and loyalty to make these demands felt. The study had a sample size of ten thousand consumers in ten major countries around the globe, including United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, India and Japan.

Among the overall key findings: a huge 81 percent of consumers said companies have a responsibility to address key social and environmental issues beyond their local communities; they want the companies to step up to the plate and do the right thing to help those in need in their communities. At the same time, even more (93 percent) of respondents believe companies must go beyond what their local laws require to operate responsibly. Likewise, 94 percent want companies to analyze and evolve their business practices to make their impact as positive as possible.

However, there were important nuances by country. The bottom line: companies must customize their corporate responsibility strategies based on geography. This imperative means companies should have a broad vision to guide the core principles of engagement, then adapt them at the market level. The only caveat is that this adaptation requires an in-depth understanding of what will motivate consumers locally.

"Consumers around the world want companies to be a force for good, both in the way they do business and in devoting their resources to address societal issues," said Alison DaSilva, executive vice president at Cone Communications. "Just as important, many consumers globally now report they are activists, rewarding companies who act responsibly and punishing companies who do not," she added.

We have oft reported, Corporate Social Responsibility would increase in importance. As more Gen Xers and Millennials assume positions of power and influence, we can expect that trend to become increasingly strong.

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