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  • Patricia Neuray

If your firm is socially responsible consumers want to hear your story

Corporate ethics differentiate your company to “corpsumers” who care

For companies that give back for all the right reasons, there is a huge benefit in telling that to consumers—or more specifically, to so-called corpsumers.

Public relations firm MWWPR coined the term to define the demographic that puts their money where their conscience is. Corpsumers make buying decisions based on their values, and they go out of their way to purchase products and services from companies that share those values.

This is a highly desirable segment. Corpsumers are highly educated, affluent and loyal to brands they believe in. And there are a lot of them. They make up a staggering one-third of the U.S population. That’s roughly 100 million consumers. This segment is larger than Millennials and Moms.

Some big companies are already responding to these passionate consumers with ad campaigns that showcase a commitment to helping solve social and environmental issues. Dove Chocolate hired a noted film director to shoot a series of ads with Minka Kelly on location in Ecuador to explain how the company supports cocoa farmers and sustainable farming methods. Coca-Cola’s new TV ads promote the importance of a clean water supply. It’s a less specific approach than Dove’s, but it’s an important departure from Coke’s usual advertising.

Don’t be shy

As the co-founder of a marketing firm that specifically works with mission-driven organizations, I often see a reluctance to incorporate social activism into advertising.

Many companies bury any mention of their philanthropy on their website and never incorporate any mention of it in their messaging. Or they think they need to do a specific CSR campaign and keep it separate from their regular marketing efforts. That can be a mistake. Just as brands promote their competitive prices or superior customer service, why wouldn’t they also tell consumers about how they’re reducing their carbon footprint? If a company can genuinely show that it’s trying to do the right thing, then it should tell consumers about it. That said, that communication has to be done in a way that doesn’t sound self-serving, or people will see right through it.

It’s not always easy to advertise social purpose in an authentic way. The story has to be genuine, subtle and true. But the effort could be well worth it. The numbers in the MWWPR study are compelling, and like the best marketing, should lead to action:

  • 89% of corpsumers are likely to share positive news about companies

  • 78% of corpsumers are likely to share negative news about companies

  • 76% of corpsumers have encouraged a peer to buy from a company because they want to support the company that makes the product

  • More than half of corpsumers have stayed with a product or service if they weren’t satisfied because they supported other efforts made by the company.

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