COMMENT: EDITORIAL; A cause and its effect on sales

Faced with two products of similar price and quality, the vast majority of consumers say they would buy the one made by a company associated with a ‘good cause’. Business in the Community, which commissioned this latest research, rightly concludes that it proves a strong commercial case for expending more energy on cause related marketing.

Faced with two products of similar price and quality, the vast majority

of consumers say they would buy the one made by a company associated

with a ‘good cause’. Business in the Community, which commissioned this

latest research, rightly concludes that it proves a strong commercial

case for expending more energy on cause related marketing.



But it is not the whole story. For the survey also shows that consumers

feel this way regardless of the specific cause being addressed, and that

most are hard pushed to name a socially responsible company. It is

likely then that this is simply a case of consumers seeking some brand

differentiation as the products they are offered become closer in

function, quality and cost.



Although association with a good cause is one way of achieving this

differentiation in the minds of consumers, the overriding aim for

companies must be to overlay strong corporate brand values on top of

their product brands. These values include not only social

responsibility, but also its record on corporate governance, employment

and investment practice, its environmental record, as well as more

intangible qualities like style, excitement, or fun.



Such a strategy can pay off handsomely. For example, research by NOP and

PR Week in 1994 showed that consumers were more likely to buy one of

Virgin’s increasingly diverse range of products simply because they

approved of the corporate brand values.



The holy grail of public relations is to prove a direct causal link

between corporate image - and the public relations advice guiding it -

and business performance. That is still a distant horizon in terms of

the practicalities of PR evaluation systems. But research like this adds

strength to the arm of every corporate affairs director and PR

consultant in the land.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in