How can brand social responsibility drive consumer preference?

How can brand social responsibility drive consumer preference?


BSR is often seen as an act of compliance rather than a real driver for top line growth…

The lack of evidence on how BSR can drive top line growth means BSR activities are commonly seen as an act of compliance more than a real growth driver.

But a recent global survey by Accenture suggests people hold businesses as accountable as governments for improving their lives.

With this research in mind, consumer expectation towards corporations is clearly high, calling for initiatives that drive consumer preference – which in turn drives top line growth.

A draft model indicating the options for brands

We have analysed different ways BSR is played in the market in order to understand how this is working and have developed this draft model indicating the options for brands…

There are two different ways of developing BSR:

  1. Intrinsic or product related – this means that your product is based on a BSR trait i.e. like toilet paper produced out of bamboo as a more sustainable source
  2. Extrinsic – this means that your brand is activating a BSR initiative associated to its consumption i.e. like planting a tree for each certain number of rolls of toilet paper sold.

You then have two more main options about how you communicate your BSR profile:

  1. BSR is at the core of your communication and brand positioning – so something that is defining your brand promise like i.e. I serve you only locally sourced food which by the way is delicious.
  2. BSR is an add on to your communication – so something that is not structurally linked to your brand promise i.e. I deliver you a superior taste and by the way I also do something for the environment.

If you combine the two variables you have a map which can help you understand where your brands are and where you eventually want them to be

Brand social responsibility drives consumer preference

Where’s the evidence?

Our work and observation indicates a correlation between the position on the map and the chance of success, with Intrinsic and Core being the most effective in driving consumer preference.

In fact we have analysed a few strong cases in this space which produced an incredible return and provided some key insights.

Of course, the starting point is fundamental. Newly launched brands can have an easier option in positioning themselves in the map versus established ones that have to deal with a specific heritage.

However re-positioning in the map can be done effectively following the correct approaches and tools.

By developing and communicating a clear BSR strategy, brands can begin to use it as a driver of top line growth.

Read more about our thoughts on Brand Social Responsibility including why we think CSR is no longer enough and BSR is the future and our Seven ways to show consumers you take your responsibilities seriously.