Study finds affluent consumers willing to pay for socially responsible brands

SAN FRANCISCO: Three out of four consumers are willing to pay more for brands they believe act responsibly, according to a new study conducted by Context Marketing titled "Brand Virtue as a Competitive Asset."

SAN FRANCISCO: Three out of four consumers are willing to pay more for brands they believe act responsibly, according to a new study conducted by Context Marketing titled "Brand Virtue as a Competitive Asset."

Of those willing to pay more, 40% of respondents said they would pay as much as 10% more; another 30% said they were willing to pay more than 10%.

Respondents gave a broad definition of responsible behavior: 80% said they don't differentiate between being good, such as using green packaging on a brand's products, and doing good, such as supporting an issue or cause.

“Today's consumers increasingly expect brands and companies to help change the world, even if only in small ways,” said Bob Kenney, principal with Context Marketing.

Respondents consisted of 600 adults ages 20 to 64, who were primarily college-educated and working. Two-thirds of participants had a household income exceeding $75,000.

The findings of the survey are in line with others conducted during this recession. The Corporate Citizenship Study, conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, branding firm Landor Associates, and Burson-Marsteller found that 75% of 1,001 consumers polled were willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies. That survey went on to find that consumers were unclear about which companies were actually doing good.

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