Women Want Social Responsibility from Their Brands

by Colin Shaw on July 9, 2015

The demand for corporate social responsibility continues to sweep the brand marketplace. According to new research from Nielsen, corporate social responsibility is important as a benefit to positive branding efforts.  We also know for your brand reputation positive press is key. What you may not realize, however, it is also critical to winning the hearts and minds of the coveted group of women consumers.

Competition in the marketplace is fierce. Every brand needs to find any way possible to differentiate themselves from their competitors. My angle is typically about Customer Experience. My regular readers know that how your Customers feel about your experience is a big part (over 50% based on our research) of how they feel about your brand and their loyalty to it. I regularly beat the drum of evoking the right emotions from your Customers with your Customer Experience and brand promise.

Women make the lion’s share of shopping decisions in many categories. Therefore, appealing to what matters to them is important. The Nielsen Global Survey discovered a new way one could differentiate their brand and evoke positive emotions from its female Customers: through promoting their social responsibility programs. It is important to note that while the greater impact for most of the social responsibility programs was on female consumers, male consumers also preferred companies that go green, create sustainable products and give back to society.

Women said they felt strongly connected or somewhat agreed with the following causes:

  • 63% to increase access to clean water; men were at  56%
  • 57% to eradicating world hunger; men were at 50%
  • 55% to combating communicable diseases; men were at 47%
  • 55% to reducing child mortality; men were at 45%

Corporate responsibility is growing as an important litmus test for consumers. A 2014 Nielsen survey revealed 55% (global average) of respondents, male and female, would pay more for products from companies with a commitment to corporate social responsibility. This percentage represented an increase of 10% over the previous three years (45% global average in 2011).

Being genuine and appropriate is the best way to brand using social responsibility as a platform. In other words, just slapping any old socially responsible program on your brand doesn’t work as well as one that “fits” your brand. Nielsen learned the most successful companies branding on social responsibility identified a social cause internally they felt important to their organization and matched it to what consumers expect from them based on their product or service. This 4-minute video by Nielsen explains it best.

Nielsen makes it clear your brand needs to make strong connections to appropriate socially responsible programs to evoke the proper emotions from its Customers, particularly when women are your targets. These should be important to your Customers, and also important to your organization to have the most appeal in the court of public opinion. Furthermore, these should not be kept a secret but shouted from the mountaintops to differentiate your brand in the crowded and fierce marketplace we contend with today.

We know that how Customers FEEL about your brand, regardless of their gender, is critical to your bottom line. What we are learning through Nielsen’s research is that how they feel about how you generate that bottom line—with social responsibility—is also critical to how they FEEL about your brand. Especially, as it turns out, when you consider your female Customers.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawWomen Want Social Responsibility from Their Brands