NEW YORK, May 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite an influx of consumer brands more publicly supporting social cause platforms, most efforts are not resonating with Gen Z according to a new study released today from DoSomething Strategic, the social impact consulting arm of DoSomething.org that helps brands engage young people around their purpose. The Brands Taking Stands 2019 study, titled "Cause is Working, Your Marketing Isn't" found that 66% of young consumers say that a brand's association with a social cause or platform positively impacts their overall impression of the brand and 58% say this association will impact their likelihood of purchasing that brand. However, across the 88 brands tested, an average of just 12% of respondents had "top of mind" associations between brands they were familiar with and a social cause or platform. Even when provided a list of social causes or platforms (aka "aided awareness") cause association still only reached an average of 24%.
"This study highlights critical factors marketers today should consider when trying to reach a younger consumer," said Meredith Ferguson, Managing Director of DoSomething Strategic. "Primarily, that you need to shout loud and proud about your support of social issues and cause platforms to break through the noise. Too few young consumers are aware of brands' support of various cause initiatives and there is a real risk brands aren't getting the 'credit' for the good work they're doing. It is a missed opportunity to build a relationship with consumers based on shared values."
The report also finds that brands can't ride on their history of cause marketing or expect it will be known to a new generation. Even when young people feel they are familiar with a brand, it's no guarantee that their understanding of that brand extends beyond the brand's products.
The study pointed out a few methods that are giving brands an edge when it comes to strengthening their connection to social cause initiatives among young people:
- Finding a unique angle within a brand category: Most undergarment brands focus on body positivity, but Savage x Fenty takes its position a step further by making a powerful statement about racial equality—promoting diverse models and products that appeal to women of different shades (and sizes!). And consumers are noticing: 33% of respondents associate Savage x Fenty with racial justice and equality, locking it in as the only brand in this category representing this cause platform.
- Having a singular focus: Since 2004, Dove has stayed laser-focused on its commitment to raise self-esteem and drive body confidence. An impressive 53% of respondents associate Dove with body positivity - among the highest associations with a single cause found in the survey.
- Courting controversy: Patagonia's bold "The President Stole Your Land" campaign attracted so much attention, Patagonia struggled to handle the web traffic; it also contributed to Patagonia's position as the outdoor brand most strongly associated with the environment. And, among our respondents, the brand received the most consistent unaided association with a cause space, the environment.
"Gen Z defines 'authenticity' differently than older generations," said Ferguson. "To them, there is no such thing as a cause that is off-limits for a brand to champion - it doesn't have to be in lock-step with what a brand sells. So long as the brand is walking the walk and supporting the issue from the inside out, they're game."
The "Cause is Working, Your Marketing Isn't: A Report on Brands Taking Stands 2019" survey was conducted online among a nationally representative sample of 1,908 current DoSomething.org members ages 13-25 about their awareness of 88 consumer brands' support of social causes, issues, and platforms.
The full report findings can be accessed here.
About DoSomething Strategic
DoSomething Strategic is the social impact consulting arm of DoSomething.org, the largest global organization for young people and social impact. DoSomething Strategic uses data-driven insights from DoSomething's 5+ million members—ages 13-25 in every area code in the United States and in 131 countries worldwide—to help brands build relationships with and strengthen affinity among young consumers by driving purpose forward. DoSomethingStrategic.org
This survey recruited young people aged 13-25 living in the United States from the DoSomething membership. Data were collected between January 14, 2019 and February 10, 2019. The median time to complete the survey was 11 minutes. Prior to analyses, the data were cleaned and weighted as follows:
- Individuals with completion times under one-third the median time to complete were excluded from the results.
- Individuals younger than 13 years of age or older than 25 years of age were excluded from the results.
- Individuals living outside of the United States were excluded from the results.
- Survey responses were weighted based on general population breakdowns of gender and race to help ensure a nationally representative sample with respect to core socio-demographic variables.
The final sample is composed of 1,908 observations from current DoSomething members. Results presented here are reported post-weighting. Assuming a population size of approximately 56,000,000 13–25 year olds nationwide1, a sample size of 1,908 at a 95% confidence level allows for a 2.24% margin of error (based on the assumption that data are normally distributed).
1 Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
SOURCE DoSomething Strategic