Flaunting Socially Responsible Consuming
We are at an interesting crossroads in consumer culture. Where luxury purchases used to be the ultimate sign of affluence or, at least, aspiring affluence, more consumers now may be driven to make conspicuously conscious purchases. According to research co-authored by Aronte Bennett and mentioned in her MediaPost article, corporate social responsibility (CSR) seems to be becoming a strong motivator influencing consumers today – even in these bad economic times. As she put it:
In a variety of experiments, our research found that consumers like CSR-associated products for two distinct reasons.
First, the fact that these products send out highly visible, social signals to their friends, family and co-workers regarding their kindness and charitable nature.
Second, they like the more private, self-signaling potential associated with the purchases of these products, even when a strong public social signal is absent to others.
These consumers like the visibility of what they are doing and they also gain in self-regard. This is sounding familiar, like a whole other market – luxury.
Andrea Learned is a marketing dot-connector with a focus on gender and a longterm view on coming trends. Andrea's broad, colorful commentary can be found regularly on her blog, Learned on Women.