Survey Quantifies ‘Cause’ and Effect

NEW YORK The perception that a company is doing good raised the premium consumers are willing to pay for a brand by an average of 6.1 percent, according to a survey conducted by Self magazine.

The research is intended to provide insight into the effectiveness of cause marketing for advertisers.

Cause marketing was most effective at raising brand value among products in the beauty and fashion categories, yielding a boost of about 8 percent, according to Self. On the flip side, the “high-ticket” automotive and technology sectors reaped the least benefit, about 5 percent in terms of added brand value, the magazine found.

“Cause marketing creates an alignment between consumers and companies. It gives consumers the feeling that companies feel as strongly about and share in their particular values,” said Cynthia Walsh, Self‘s executive director of marketing.

Among survey respondents, 70 percent said purchasing products from companies that support causes makes them feel they are being socially responsible. Fifty-three percent said the connection makes them feel like a part of something beyond the scope of their own lives.

However, the survey found that traditional ads not tied to causes were better at communicating product quality. Such “quality” messages often include technical features and have rational appeal whereas cause-related ads are more emotionally resonant.

“One of the most encouraging things we found from the study is that 32 percent of women [respondents] expect companies will participate [in some kind of cause-related effort]. And one of the most exciting things is that 85 percent would like to see more companies doing it,” said Kimberly Anderson Kelleher, Self vp and publisher.

Self commissioned market research and consulting firm Latitude to conduct the study from March-May 2007. The research comprised 2,709 surveys and 111 interviews of women 18-49. The subjects were interviewed both online and offline.