New study reveals "likes" don't always result in sales

NEW YORK: Although many consumers say they are more likely to buy a product if the brand supports a cause, a new study reports that barely one in five are putting their money where their mouth is.

NEW YORK: Although many US consumers say they are more likely to buy a product if the brand supports a cause, a new study sponsored by Ketchum and BlogHer reports that barely one in five are putting their money where their mouth is.

According to Kelley Skoloda [pictured], partner and director of Ketchum's global brand marketing practice, the results show that "cause" programs have a greater impact on "brand affinity, reputation, and share of voice than on sales." This is the first study from Ketchum's cause-consumer engagement specialty, part of the BlogHer 2011 Social Media Matters study.

"I was most struck by the finding that only 23 percent of consumers change their purchasing behavior based on a brand's support for a cause, but nearly twice that number report using social media and word of mouth to talk about a brand's cause support," she added.

The study also reveals that while brands can grab the attention of young adults through social media, passion is the most effective way to reach older consumers, especially with causes that are locally relevant. Seventy percent of adults aged 65 to 76 said they are motivated to buy a product from a company when it makes a donation to a local school or organization.

People are also looking for cause support to be simple and easy. The study finds that 48% of US consumers are more receptive to programs in which companies donate a portion of sales to a cause, and 38% want companies to make it easy to support a cause online.

Results also indicate that US consumers are most passionate about causes related to breast cancer (44%), animals (36%), and children (35%).

    The "Ketchum Cause-Consumer Engagement" study had 1,771 online respondents with a margin of error of + or - 2.2%. The study was fielded by Nielsen Company.

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