In years past, one way to consumers’ hearts and wallets has been to appeal to their need for status through 1187229_pure_wind_energyownership of luxury homes, cars and apparel. But the ongoing concern about over-consumption and its effect on the environment is bringing about a new attitude. The last Edeman goodpurpose Consumer Study shows nearly 6 in 10 consumers have been persuaded to do business with companies that can prove support for good causes.

These days, status is all about commitment to the environment and social causes.  But because of the economic downturn, U.S. consumers are giving less to social causes. Instead, these consumers are donating more time (53%) and looking to support socially responsible firms (65%). This is indicative of a broader global trend and the survey findings indicate that “66% of people believe that it’s no longer enough for corporations to merely give money away, but that they must integrate good causes into their day-to-day business.”

Consumer sentiment about social responsibility seems to be growing. Here are specific findings from this year’s survey with the changes from last year indicated in parentheses:

  • Companies should shift away from traditional marketing and into good causes: 71% (+10%)
  • Recommend brands that support good causes: 64% (+12%)
  • Help promote a brand associated with a good cause:  59% (+7%)
  • Maintain awareness of brands that support good causes: 44% (+11%)
  • Achieve contentment through shopping: 16% (-9%)

As shopper attitudes toward consumerism shift, savvy firms can continue to promote goods and services with positive results – as long as they emphasize an authentic element of social purpose or environmentalism.

[Source: Global Edelman goodpurpose Survey, 2009]