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More than a new “marketing trend” - rather a real consumer need
The new meaning of “Purpose”, the good cause and the higher sense, reflects a new consumer need, even a consumer demand. From four years in which we have carried out the Edelman goodpurposeTM study worldwide, we know that consumers not only want to do good themselves, but also increasingly expect social and ecological commitment from companies and brands.

This is clearly demonstrated by the following key results of the study:
• 80% of German consumers believe that social and economic interests should have equal weight in business decisions.
• When choosing between two brands of the same quality and price, “social purpose” is the decisive purchase criterion for German consumers (45%), well ahead of design and innovation (34%) and brand loyalty (21%).
• 47% of German consumers would switch to a comparable brand that is socially committed.
• And 50% would recommend products or services that do good.

High time to add a fifth "P" - namely "Purpose" - to the classic marketing mix of product, price, place and promotion.
Many companies have already done this: Whether the Procter & Gamble brand Pampers, which supports the fight against tetanus in newborns with every pack of diapers sold (1 pack = 1 vaccination) or Unilever's ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's, the young people actively involved in their climate protection program “Climate Change College” or campaigns for same-sex marriage with their specially renamed “Hubby-Hubby” ice cream. Whether Pepsi (disclosure: Edelman customer), which provides USD 1.3 million for the "Pepsi Refresh Project" to realize ideas submitted by consumers for a better world or the Brita brand (disclosure: Edelman customer), which has so far saved an estimated 230 million plastic bottles through its “Filter for Good” campaign by encouraging people to make the “Filter for Good” promise and drink filtered tap water.

Nowadays, the question no longer seems to be: “Does a company have to commit to social responsibility?” According to a recent Accenture study, 96% of CEOs worldwide believe that sustainability should be integrated into a company's strategy and activities.
Rather, the question is: “HOW does such a social or ecological commitment have to look like?” - especially against the background of partially justified “greenwashing criticism”.

The following key questions can serve as an initial orientation:
1. How do you identify a “good cause” that is genuinely authentically and credibly derived from the core of the company?
2. How do you integrate “Purpose” into your company in such a way that it benefits society and the company in equal measure and consequently combines classic CSR with brand marketing tactics?
3. How do you involve consumers and other interest groups in order to exploit the full potential of “Mutual Social Responsibility” - so that the consumers support a good cause together with the brands?

The booming social businesses can serve as inspiration - companies that have not only integrated social engagement into their strategy, but whose business core is the good cause itself. Be it TOM's Shoes in the USA, Innocent Smoothies in the UK or Viva con Agua in Germany - to name just a few. They are all part of a new phenomenon: a “good purpose” movement that is increasingly bringing “good products” to life.

(*) ACNielsen “LOHAS“ study published in 2008
(**) UN Global Compact – Accenture CEO Study 2010 - A New Era of Sustainability


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