|May 24, 2010|
Companies Failing To Engage Consumers
|Eighty-four percent of
Americans believe their ideas can help companies create products
and services that are a win for consumers, business and society;
yet, only half (53%) feel companies are effectively encouraging
them to speak up on corporate social and environmental practices
and products, according to the 2010 Cone Shared Responsibility
A majority of consumers want to be engaged on four key responsible business pillars, including how a company conducts its business (85%), its products and packaging (83%), its support of social and environmental issues (81%) and its marketing and advertising (74%). Consumers are prepared to dedicate time and money to help influence corporate social/environmental practices through surveys and research (70%), buying or boycotting a company's products (44%) or through email, phone or employee communications (32%), among other activities.
Yet, when it comes to consumer interaction, most Americans say
companies are not making the grade. Three-quarters assign companies
a "C," "D," or "F" on how well they are engaging consumers around
critical business issues. This disconnect signals a lost
opportunity for companies because consumers are prepared to reward
them for engagement. If a company incorporated their ideas,
consumers say they would be more likely to buy its products and
services (60%), more loyal (54%) and more likely to recommend the
"We call this collaborative approach
to addressing social and environmental issues 'Shared
Responsibility' because diverse stakeholders each have a unique
value, role and stake in solving today's complex global challenges.
Companies can't go it alone."
"Companies have a unique opportunity to address issues
holistically, from the products they create to the partnerships
they form to the dollars they give," says Alison DaSilva, executive
vice president of Cone. "And it's this blend of both social
initiatives and business operations - along with the sweat equity
and ingenuity of diverse stakeholders - that stands to affect
change. We all share responsibility for the issues at hand, and we
all stand to benefit from the solutions."
Skepticism - 87
percent of consumers believe the communication is one-sided -
companies share the positive information about their efforts, but
withhold the negative; and,
"Open, consistent lines of communication are the only way a company can effectively collaborate with diverse stakeholders for the long-term and stay on top of issues that may improve or inhibit its business," says Yohannan. "It doesn't mean companies have to solve all of the issues on the table, but it does mean being transparent about their journey."
About the Study: