Market-savvy teens want to do biz with do-gooders

BOSTON: Companies that truly support causes are rewarded by teenagers with their loyalty and advocacy - not to mention their dollars.

BOSTON: Companies that truly support causes are rewarded by teenagers with their loyalty and advocacy - not to mention their dollars.

BOSTON: Companies that truly support causes are rewarded by teenagers with their loyalty and advocacy - not to mention their dollars.

That was among the major findings of the second annual Cone/Roper Cause-Related Teen Survey. The study, which mined the opinions of 600 AOL users between the ages of 12 and 17, also revealed that 81% believe companies have a responsibility to support good causes.

Seventy-one percent of respondents said that the support of causes ranked only behind quality as a determining factor in buying decisions. Additionally, 89% of teens - a staggering 62% increase from last year - said they would be likely to switch to a brand associated with a good cause if price and quality were equal.

'Generation Y is composed of 31 million teens who feel isolated because of school violence and the fact that their parents are working,' said Cone CEO Carol Cone. 'Teens want to build a community, and companies offer teens a way to be passive activists.'

Cone added that companies who want to engage in cause-related marketing must be strategic and genuine about their involvement. 'Teens are much savvier than before,' she explained. 'They can see through a company in a minute. It's not just about sponsoring a concert or a sports event.

The support has to be much more substantive and longer-lasting.'

The survey also revealed that 63% of teens have purchased products in the last year from companies that supported a cause, and that 80% would buy a product from a company that supports a cause in the upcoming year.

Eighty-six percent said they would tell their friends about socially concerned companies.

Causes shown to have the the most relevance to teens are school violence (60%), drug and alcohol abuse (55%) and crime (42%). The top ways teens said they want to learn about a company's support of a cause are through TV ads (70%) and at school (55%).



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