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Consumers Demand More Than CSR "Purpose"

BOSTON, Oct. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), consumers want more than aspirational mission statements. According to the newly released 2012 Cone Communications Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker, 84 percent of Americans hold companies accountable for producing and communicating the results of CSR commitments by going beyond the mission to robustly communicate progress against well-defined purpose.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111004/NE79797LOGO )

"This shift in stakeholder expectations carries significant implications for companies engaged in CSR," says Cone Communications' Executive Vice President Jonathan Yohannan. "Purpose is no longer enough, and successful campaigns must demonstrate return for business, brand and society. 'Proving purpose' is the new mantra for effective CSR."

Cone Communications, a public relations and marketing agency recognized as a pioneer in cause marketing and CSR, is establishing a new approach to CSR called Corporate Social Return SM . This philosophy centers on the conviction that CSR must deliver measureable business, brand and social impacts that yield benefits for vested stakeholders.

Consumers Reward Results, Not Aspirations

Companies that proactively share the details and results of their CSR efforts will be rewarded with increased consumer trust and purchasing. With significant consumer purchasing power on the line, ineffective CSR communications can be a liability. Cone Communications' research reveals:
  • 86 percent of consumers are more likely to trust a company that reports its CSR results
  • 82 percent say they are more likely to purchase a product that clearly demonstrates the results of the company's CSR initiatives than one that does not
  • 40 percent say they will not purchase a company's products or services if CSR results are not communicated

"Companies need to build customized output and outcome measurement components and identify projected stakeholder return at the outset of campaign development, and then track progress along the critical CSR pillars of business, brand and society," adds Yohannan. "With the stakes so high, measurement can't be an afterthought or add-on." 

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