Gen Z survey: Brands get drowned out in all the cause marketing noise
A survey from DoSomething.org finds 66 percent of young consumers say that a brand’s association with a social cause or platform positively impacts their impression of the brand and 58 percent say this association will impact their likelihood of purchasing that brand. Yet of 88 brands tested, only 12 percent of respondents had “top of mind” associations between brands they were familiar with and a social cause or platform.
Even when provided a list of social causes or platforms (aka “aided awareness”), cause association still only reached an average of 24 percent.
A core finding is that brands can’t expect their history of cause marketing to be known to a new generation.
“You need to shout loud and proud about your support of social issues and cause platforms to break through the noise,” said Meredith Ferguson, managing director of DoSomething Strategic, in a statement.
The study offered a few methods for strengthening connections to social causes:
- Find a unique angle within a category: Many lingerie brands advocate body positivity, but Savage x Fenty stands out for taking stands on racial justice and equality.
- Have a singular focus: Since the 2004 launch of its “Real Beauty” effort, Dove has earned a reputation for promoting self-esteem and body confidence.
- Court controversy: Patagonia’s launch of its “The President Stole Your Land” campaign in support of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah contributed its position as the outdoor brand most strongly associated with the environment.
Fenty Beauty, Nike, Lush and Covergirl were all cited as having high associations between brand and cause.
Among traditional retailers, Aerie, known for its body positivity, ranked first in the survey with a 50 percent aided awareness of an association with any cause. Target, at 40 percent, was recognized for its support of LGBTQ rights. Other retailers known for cause initiatives included The Body Shop, Victoria’s Secret, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, Sephora and H&M.
The survey respondents were between the ages of 13 and 25 and members of DoSomething.org, an organization dedicated to mobilizing people around social change. Numerous other studies have shown the Gen Z and Millennial generations seek out socially responsible brands.
- DoSomething Strategic Finds Most Brands’ Support Of Cause Platforms Are Not Breaking Through To Gen Z – DoSomething.org
- Cause is Working, Your Marketing Isn’t – DoSomething.org
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What’s causing the apparent disconnect between brands and their support of social causes in the minds of younger consumers? What advice would you have for brands looking to get their cause marketing efforts to resonate with consumers?