BRAND ACTIVISM

Brands Should Be Wary of Bragging About Doing the Right Thing, Polling Shows

Plurality of consumers say brands ‘try too hard’ to appear altruistic

In a Morning Consult poll, more than 4 in 10 U.S. consumers say that brands are trying too hard to appear as if they care about anything beyond sales, which is a larger share than those who say they enjoy companies’ efforts to trumpet their charitable efforts. (Guido Mieth)

Marketers will often hype up a brand’s corporate social responsibility as a way to differentiate it from competitors, but new polling from PRWeek/Morning Consult suggests that many consumers are skeptical of the authenticity of such actions.

More than 4 in 10 U.S. consumers say that brands are trying too hard to appear as if they care about anything beyond sales, a larger share than those who say they enjoy companies’ efforts to trumpet their charitable efforts.

Gen Z consumers’ responses are evenly divided, while millennials are generally split. Meanwhile, Gen X and baby boomers are more cynical on the issue.

Most respondents (53 percent) on the Jan. 6-8 survey also said companies should “stick to what they do” and not get involved in the political or cultural world, while 26 percent said companies should use their influence to sway such matters.

Those sentiments soften among Gen Z consumers, who want more from the brands they support: One-third say companies should get involved in politics, while 39 percent disagree. Those figures are roughly similar to when Morning Consult polled on this issue in August 2018.

The survey was conducted among 2,201 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

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