More than half (51%) of Gen Z respondents aged 18 to 23 years will always research a company to ensure it aligns with their position on corporate social responsibility before making a purchase, according to a recent study by Forrester.
Social media sites are saturated with advocacy and activism, and although their positive impact in the real-world can be debated, younger generations are tuning in and paying attention. They are more conscious and aware of social, racial, labor, gender, and environmental issues than ever before, and, as this study shows, more willing to do the legwork of making sure they are responsible consumers when it comes to making brand decisions.
Marketing leaders should take note: corporate social responsibility (CSR) is soon becoming a prerequisite for participating in the consumer marketplace. But what does a genuine CSR strategy look like? Genuine brand purpose and responsibility require that brands recognize the power they have to bring positive change, especially where they have the most influence: within their communities and industries. It also involves answering some key questions: What issue is a brand uniquely qualified to impact? Where can it be a leading force of change?
As marketing professionals, we have to serve as advocates for finding the honest answers to these questions, to see where our organizations can have the most impact on customers and society. There is an urgent need for businesses to address issues like climate change, employee rights, gun violence and more. But for brands to make a difference, there is a need for genuine purpose that goes well beyond flashy advertising campaigns and photo-ops.
It involves taking action to help solve the social and environmental issues that affect them — and their employees and customers — directly.