Having recently watched Michael Moore's CNN meltdown and Al Gore's less than inspiring global warming concert, I'm wondering how much harm they inflict on both causes. How many potential contributors, supporters, advocates, researchers, etc., are turned-off by their antics? Marketers adopting social causes as ways of advancing their brand reputation may want to stay away from health care and global warming for fear of alienating cash paying customers.
On a related note Carol Cone who runs a "Cause Branding and Social Responsibility" marketing firm in Boston, just released a study that came to the blindingly obvious conclusion that Americans prefer to do business with firms they like.
Carol's study declares "If you don't stand for a cause, consumers may stop buying your products."
I think "may" is the operative word.
Will consumers really stop buying? Are they willing to sacrifice quality, price and service for a cause?
In other words, all other things being equal, if firm X supports a cause I like and firm Y does not, then I will buy from firm X. But if firm X is more expensive, of lesser quality, harder to purchase, less choice, etc. etc, how committed then are consumers to buying from the cause related firm?
I've asked Carol for any data she might have on this. I couldn't find any reading her press release or the Ad Age article by Emily Tan.
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