More than three-fourths of consumers say that it is important for companies to be socially responsible, according to the second annual Corporate Social Responsibility Perceptions Survey, conducted by research-based consultancy Penn Schoen Berland in partnership with brand consulting firm Landor Associates and strategic communications firm Burson-Marsteller.
The study, which analyzed consumer views of companies from 14 industries ranging from apparel to telecommunications, found that:
- 75 percent of consumers say that it is important for companies in each of the industries tested to be socially responsible.
- Of the 14 tested industries, Food, Consumer Goods and Retailers are perceived as performing best, while Financial Services, Healthcare and Media are perceived as performing worst. In fact, the healthcare industry fared particularly poorly among survey respondents. Only 35 percent of consumers say that the industry has performed well on social responsibility over the last five years – that’s a 10 percentage-point drop since 2009.
- Consumers perceive General Mills to be the most responsible of 64 tested brands.
- Interestingly, only 13 percent of consumers report having read about a company’s social responsibility agenda on its website – but 75 percent of those who have done so indicated that it made them more likely to purchase products or services from that company. (More proof that companies need to combine strong CSR programs with effective communication. An earlier study showed that effective communication about CSR is lacking, and that a company’s CSR record does not necessarily correlate with consumer perceptions.)
- 38 percent of respondents say they plan to spend the same or more for products and services from socially responsible companies. 70 percent are willing to pay more for a $100 product from a company they regard as responsible. 72 Percent say they will make some sacrifices in their spending or in their salary to support social responsibility.
A presentation of the study’s key findings is available at: http://www.slideshare.net/BMGlobalNews/csr-branding-survey-2010-final