Recession Loyalty and Brands that Do Good

Edelman released their second annual GoodPurpose study this week, relying on survey data from 10 developed countries to argue that consumers overwhelmingly think it’s important for firms to continue supporting social causes during tough times (via GreenBiz via Environmental Leader).  It’s worth a read (pdf).  Edelman would of course be thrilled to help your firm extoll good vibes as a strategy to get by in a pinch.

Indeed, there are many reasons to be skeptical of this work.  No shock that most people answer ‘yes’ to questions phrased ‘is it still important to you…’   The fact that 68% of people ‘globally’ pledge allegeance to any brand that ‘supports a good cause’ regardless of economic hardship is just another way of saying that premium brands whose prices subsidize a CSR strategy can expect a 32% cut in their consumer base this year.  Not exactly a motivational speech for the boardroom.  In a world where the volume of peanut butter jars is silently shrinking, brand managers seem far more likely to ride on past virtues while cutting costs behind the scenes.

And yet.  Economic recessions are built on irrationality both personal and corporate.  The cost-cutting calculations made in response — in living rooms and conference rooms alike — are no less subject to emotion and whim.  I have to believe that the core value of Doing Good in the World is far more recession proof than superfluous, cut-rate instant gratification.

© Ryan Cunningham 2008

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thoughts at the collision of business, brand and creativity

I'm Ryan Cunningham. I help companies and culture play nice with each other. At CREATURE we call this Brand Strategy, a term that carries a nice halo of reliability and structure. Here, I'm just another guy who thinks about the world and writes it down from time to time.

The result is a pile of knowledge to be used in, and for, the future. Feel free to sift through the heap for useful connections.

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