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Conscious Consumerism

Kelly Salance

Zendesk’s Relate conference is in San Francisco this week. Relate is a series that explores new ideas in building relationships with customers, businesses, and each other. One of the major themes that will be highlighted this year is investing in conscious consumerismOur own Tiffany Apczynski, VP Public Policy and Social Impact at Zendesk, will be presenting on the rise of the conscious consumer and its impact on customer service. Additionally, she will discuss your company can  and arguably should - be socially responsible.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a set of initiatives your business takes on to promote positive social and environmental change. More simply, a CSR program can increase empathy of your employees and better your community. Beyond your employees, CSR can improve your bottom line. A 2015 study by Cone Communications revealed that CSR is more than just a small consideration in the shopping aisle. It’s now woven into the very fabric of how global consumers lead their lives. In fact, one study revealed that 90% of global consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause (given comparable price and quality); 90% are more likely to trust a company that supports social and environmental issues, and 88% are more loyal to these same companies as well.

These statistics demonstrate a shift in consumerism. Consumers, on a global scale, are switching to, or at least preferring, brands associated with good causes. Through the power of the internet and social media, customers have more insight into businesses than ever before. Consumers are empowered to make an impact through the products they buy, the places they work, and generally the brands they are willing to associate with. One study states that 91% of global consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit and 84% try to purchase socially responsible products or services. Additionally, 90% would like to see more socially responsible products and services available indicating that consumers want socially minded companies that will to address tough social and environmental issues.

Emotional currency drives stronger, more meaningful, long lasting relationships. CSR positively influences this emotional currency, allowing us all to better relate to each other. The kind of loyalty that can therefore be developed by appealing to our humanness, actually drives businesses in an incredibly powerful, long-lasting way. While creating a CSR program is not a simple task, it is also no longer a nice-to-have but rather an essential business component.