Transparency and corporate responsibility have become far more important to consumers, according to a recent survey by Landor Associates, Penn Schoen Berland and Burson-Marsteller. Despite the
recession, 75% of consumers believe social responsibility is important, it found, and 55% say they would choose a product that supports a particular cause over similar products that don't.
"[Corporate social responsibility] can be the olive branch between struggling industries and consumers in cases where consumers are experiencing the highest expectations and the biggest
let-downs," Scott Osman, global director of Landor's citizenship branding practice, tells Elena Malykhina.
Although the survey found that 70% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from socially responsible companies, there's a way to go in communication. More than half of consumers are unsure about the meaning of "corporate social responsibility." Of those who say they know what CSR means, 20% define it as "giving back to the local community" and 19% as "self-regulation and accountability."