How to Market Your Cause to Skeptical Consumers. A Blog by Paul Klein

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How to Market Your Cause to Skeptical Consumers. A Blog by Paul Klein

Paul Klein is president of Impakt Corporation, a Toronto-based outfit that helps corporations increase the returns on their community investments.
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How to Market Your Cause to Skeptical Consumers


The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these blogger soffer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.   

Friday, October 23, 2009 - 8:04am


 We all know that the business value of cause marketing is directly proportional to the degree to which stakeholders know about the cause program. However, all too often corporations are leery of broadcasting their cause initiatives because they’re afraid of being seen as inauthentic by skeptical consumers.

Since 2007 Self magazine has been conducting research to explore women’s emotions resulting from the good a consumer perceives she does by purchasing socially responsible products and brands. As reported in Advertising Age,  skepticism was the area most questioned by those who saw the study and the top reason companies gave for not talking about the good they were doing.

Here are some key findings from the study:

  • I feel like the company is only doing good things to get me to buy its product: 39%

  • I feel like the company is trying to distract me from the bad things it’s doing: 32%

  • I feel like the company is trying to make me feel guilty: 11%

  • I don’t trust the company is doing what it says it is doing: 33%

These four questions identified true skeptics. To qualify as a true skeptic, women had to agree with at least three of the four statements. Importantly, only 16% of those sampled did so. So, although skeptics are a small segment of the consumer population, fear of skepticism is still holding companies back from talking about their cause programs.


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