It’s not a question anymore if consumers care about a company’s social responsiveness; countless studies have shown that a brand’s social responsibility hugely affects consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Nielsen, in a new global survey published in 2014, showed that 55% of global online buyers across 60 countries say they are willing to spend more on products and services of companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. They say that they check the product’s label first to see if it has social responsibility claims. Those with the strongest preference for socially responsive brands are in Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%) and the Middle East/Africa (63%).
The Three E’s
Corporate responsibility can be subdivided into three main components: economic responsibility, ethical responsibility, and ecological responsibility.
Financial responsibility is a corporation’s commitment to driving the local and even global economy upwards while giving value to its stakeholders. It is ensuring that there is profit for the region from which the product or service came, and to the one to which it was sold. This entails fair taxation system and right pricing.
Ethical responsibility heavily considers the question “Is anyone being exploited in the process of producing and selling the products and services?” This is where the issue of child labor, sweatshops, and forced labor falls into.
Lastly, ecological responsibility is the obligation of corporations to ensure that the environment is not irreparably harmed in the manufacturing process.
Social Responsibility in Packaging
The playing field of packaging designing now includes the social responsibility category. If your packaging shows any of the mentioned three E’s, it will significantly increase your sales. Nielsen found that brands with social responsibility claims on the packaging had an average annual sales increase of 2 percent, while those that promoted social responsibility actions through marketing campaigns had a 5 percent annual sales increase. This is in contrast to the 1 percent sales rise of products with no social responsibility claims.
One such brand that widely promotes social responsibility is the giant shoe brand TOMS. In fact, its entire business model is built around the concept of social responsibility. It started in 2006 when American traveler Blake Mycoskie discovered that children in an Argentinian village had no shoes for their feet. It moved him to establish a privately-owned company, TOMS®, that will give a pair of shoe to a child in need for every purchased pair of shoe. It further extended to give help to children with poor eyesight by launching TOMS® Eyewear. The campaign is called One for One®.
This advocacy assures consumers that by purchasing a pair of shoe, they not only get quality footwear, but they are also able to help poverty-stricken children around the globe.
Their packaging reflects this advocacy. It states in simple and understandable terms the mechanics of One for One®. Now TOMS® is one of the most successful shoe brands in the globe.
Gone are the days of passive consumerism. As consumers become more socially aware, corporations should ride the momentum of creating culturally responsive packaging that will attract loyal buyers.