A whopping 93% of global consumers are willing to boycott a company for irresponsibility or deceptive business practices, and more than half (56%) say they already have.
These are some of the most revealing findings in the 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study, which was conducted earlier this year with 10,000 consumers in 10 major countries accounting for approximately half of the world's population.
Consumers across the world are highly engaged and, while willing to reward companies that focus on more than just their own bottom line, are ready to strike and punish organizations and brands not addressing key social and environmental issues.
According to the research results, over a third (36%) have researched a company's business practices or support of issues and 32% have provided feedback directly to a company about its responsibility efforts. Over half (51%) claimed to have told friends or family about a company's social responsibility efforts.
"Welcome to a new wired world of empowered consumers," says Mike Lawrence, executive vice president and chief reputation office at Cone Communications. "They have access to research and networking tools once reserved for major journalists. In this world, the only way for companies to build reputation and manage risk is through corporate responsibility, engagement and transparency."
81% of the consumers surveyed said companies have a responsibility to address key social and environmental issues beyond their local communities. Additionally, 94% felt companies must analyze and evolve their business practices to make their impact as positive as possible.
Consumers want to be engaged. If given the opportunity, 94% said they would buy a product that has an environmental benefit and 93% said they would buy a product associated with a cause. In fact, 76% reported they had purchased an environmental product in the past 12 months and 65% had bought a cause-related product in the past year.
If you are a B2C company, and you want to keep good customers, a good place to start in by understanding that consumers globally believe companies have an explicit responsibility to help change the world.
Now, what are you doing to meet this consumer requirement?