Consumers may want companies to have a commitment to social issues, but they don’t necessarily want to hear about it. Indeed, US consumers are more likely to believe that brands are trying too hard to look like they care about CSR issues (42%) than they are to like it when brands show off such a commitment to issues that go beyond the bottom line (36%). This is especially true among older generations, whereas younger adults are less skeptical, according to the results from a Morning Consult and PRWeek survey of more than 2,200 US adults.
The most critical of the generations are the Baby Boomers, among whom 46% feel that companies try too hard to make it look like they care about things besides their bottom line. Some 42% of Gen X feel the same way, although it should be noted that more Baby Boomers (35%) than Gen X (33%) say they like it when companies and brands show off their commitment to issues that go beyond their bottom line.
Previous research has shown that many Millennials have either started or deepened their relationship with a company based on its provision of products or services that positively impact society. This outlook could explain why 41% of the Millennials surveyed say they like it when brands show off their commitment to issues that go beyond their own bottom line. Even so, close to the same proportion (39%) say they think companies are trying too hard to make it look like they care.
Gen Z respondents, for their part, are split between liking when brands tout their commitments (38%) and believing that brands try too hard to show that they care about things beside the bottom line.
This suspicion that companies and brands aren’t necessarily credible when they boast about doing good things can be seen in previous research in which consumers said that companies were taking a stand for less noble reasons, such as PR purposes or just jumping on the bandwagon. That said, other research shows that while consumers do hold high expectations for companies when it comes to sustainability and ethics, they are not as keen on following through on these same efforts themselves.
About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 2,201 US adults.