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A new Roper Starch Worldwide study finds that not only do most Americans expect big business to be socially responsible, but that brand loyalty can be affected by cause-related marketing.

Conducted for cause marketing company Pearlman Group, the study found 92% of respondents believe it's important for marketers to seek out ways to become good corporate citizens, and they are most interested in those that get involved in environmental, education and health issues.

Conducted by phone among 802 adults in June and July, the study concluded that almost two-thirds of Americans at least sometimes factor a company's involvement with a cause into buying decisions. The survey has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

One in five consumers say they frequently refuse to buy the best quality products because they don't like the marketer.


Three companies taking different cause-marketing tacks are American Express Co., General Motors Corp. and Sara Lee Corp.

GM in October announced a program called Concept Cure with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, where five well-known clothing designers each customized a GM car. The cars will be auctioned off by yearend, with the proceeds benefiting Georgetown University's Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research (see accompanying story).

"Concept Cure is a way for us to evolve our relationship with the fashion industry and allow us to connect emotionally with female consumers by supporting causes that are of extreme importance to them," said Philip Guarascio, VP-general manager, marketing and advertising for GM's North American Operations.

AmEx's Charge Against Hunger kicked off its fourth year Nov. 1. Through December, AmEx dedicates 3 cents per customer transaction to Share Our Strength, an anti-hunger organization.


Sara Lee this year holds its 10th annual Frontrunner Awards, honoring women whose achievements have made an impact on society. A $25,000 donation goes in each winner's name to a non-profit organization. This year's winners: Jane Alexander, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts; Coretta Scott King, founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change; Geraldine Laybourne, president, Disney/

ABC Cable Networks; and Madeleine Albright, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

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