Are consumer truly loyal to socially responsible brands?

I must say I am deeply skeptical about Edelman's 'Goodpurpose' survey which proclaims that 'Eighty-five percent of consumers around the world are willing to change the brands they buy or their consumption habits to make tomorrow’s world a better place. Over half (55%) would help a brand “promote” a product if there was a good cause behind it.'

The survey states that even in countries like India, a brand's 'good cause' ensures loyalty. The study shows that a majority of consumers in India, China and Japan, despite the economic downturn, think it is important to purchase products and brands they perceive to be socially responsible (India 90%, China 90% and Japan 64%).

I don't have a problem with the survey to the extent that it shows consumer care about what the brand does in a social context. What makes me skeptical is 'cost implications' of this 'care' on the consumer; and supposing, should it raise costs thus prices, would consumers be willing to pay for it?

My bet is, depends, on a few variables. Take for example income levels. Would lower income groups be more accepting of 'care driven' increased costs and therefore prices? Would there be difference, should the consumer be urban or rural? Would class levels matter?

Also, should a question be posed on whether consumers consider a brand's social conscience, what do you expect the answer to be? And again, does that answer actually translate into a specific brand purchase, in the retail world? Or is it a case of, a politically correct answer and a politically incorrect action(purchase)? Again, as Anita and me intend to study, Would social consciences take a back seat during economic downturns among 'classes' that have taken a hit on their disposable incomes?

The highlights of the Goodpurpose Survey are,

  • Consumers care deeply about social action.
  • Consumers prefer brands that help make a difference.
  • Consumers are ready to engage with brands in Mutual Social Responsibility.
  • Brands have an opportunity to reach consumers through social purpose.
  • Word of mouth is the most credible source of information about brands that support good causes.
  • Interest in social purpose and action across developed and developing countries varies in unexpected ways.

Read about the survey results here.


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Sabesh Rajan said…
Sir, I just thought of asking you that have read this person (Jug Suriya's) ariticle in Times of India. He articles is published on every sunday in the editorial coloumn.

He writes good, so just thought of sharing with you.

Tk Cr,
bye bye...
Mnaz said…
Hey Mr.Titus,

I was one of your students in Alliance, a rather inconspicuous one at that but I did attend your classes regular..helped thought to take a paradigm shift and I wanted to thank you.

I find your blog quite interesting because I now work as marketing consultant/copywriter (freelancing) on account of the fact out here (Dubai), working with an ad agency is having your creativity kept inside the box everyone wants to break out. Who knows someday I shall make me a brand..but until then the human buyer fascinates me..the cur- rent implication of recession (live your dream - just take a loan, era is over), as you said said will any cause get a higher holding over the price variable? or are social causes just a subterfuge? especially now - I for one have notices a shift towards 'organic, environmentaly friendly products' but once again it is slowly gaining the 'cool' label as well..FLOWER POWER and all that jazz.

Before I exhaust your comment section..I should cease.

Thank you once again for being one of the teachers I remember and respect.

Mehnaz Ali

PS. Pay no attention to my blog, It's not functioning anymore.
Ray Titus said…

Thank you. I do read Jug Suraiya and enjoy his wit :)


Am glad you were in my class. Glad there were some takeaways. Glad you wrote in. :)

Someday you'll make you a brand. :) Social cause as a subterfuge is the order, I guess.

Was in Dubai just last week. We should catch up next time am there. If in Bangalore, do get in touch. You shud get those blogs going. Interestin' stuff!

Mnaz said…
The Legend replies!! I am honored!

I did visit Banagalore this year, love the place, there is a certain pizzazz about the place that I feel no other city has achieved.

Dubai is all hype,the problem -they developed infrastructure as business not an aid to business - and you know what happened with a speculator market environment - Welcome to Recession poeple! Now they have to focus on the end-user once more and re-structure everything. Honestly the service industry, simply put - sucks.

People will argue with me, look at the development and so on, but all I see is packaging without any substance inside, know what I mean? And if you have money anything is possible , but you can't buy class.

Do let me know next time you come to Dubai, you can stay at our (I married an Alliance guy too) place.

My normal email id is , I passed out in 2005, you might remember Marzia, Neetu,Deepak, Dushyanth they used to sit out front in your were our head cheerleader? ;)

I do write in one of my blogs..on msn spaces, but it's a unhinged version of myself, place to vent and damn the archaic among us..:)

Your blog shares the spot with The New Yorker in my regular reads.


Ps. Try the works of Ogden Nash, it's quirky, mad but the man has human behaviour down pat.
Unknown said…
As long as I am not charged more than the usual price I don't mind picking up a product which cares for some one else. But the moment the price rises and I am charged more I would not.
Ray Titus said…
Hey Pixie,

You take me through the roof when you say 'The Legend replies!! I am honored!'

Wo...give me a moment...gotta get down.... :)


That's what most wud do :)

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