Americans Skeptical of Brands’ Association With Causes—Cite Disconnect Between Cause and Offering

Consumers want Authenticity: Although the majority of Americans (96%) say they can identify two to three causes that are important to them personally, the 2011 MSLGroup Social Purpose Index finds that only 37% of Americans have actually purchased a product associated with a cause in the past year. The gap between socially conscious consumers and their actual cause-related purchase decisions can be explained through heightened skepticism in the marketplace today, says the survey report. This skepticism is a result of many companies supporting causes that don’t necessarily make sense for their business or their brands. The message: Causes should feel authentic. Other findings from the Index include:

• Most Americans (74%) agree

that there is often too much of a disconnect between the causes companies support and the brands and products they sell, while nearly as many (67%) feel that companies only support causes to sell products.

• 55% of Americans surveyed gave their time and/or money in the past year to support hunger, yet only 23% ranked hunger among the top three causes they view as most important.

• These gaps between the issues consumers rank most important and those they actually support also appeared among the issues of poverty and homelessness.

Source: MSLGroup