By now, we’ve all seen the compelling data as to why brands should invest in cause marketing—and a new study from teen and young adult-focused brand engagement agency Fuse supports those findings, with 67 percent of teens saying they were more likely to purchase from a company that supports a cause versus a company that does not.
But in the study, completed in June and surveying 2,000 U.S. teens between the ages of 14-17, the firm identified additional insights for brands as they consider their cause marketing programs.
One of the most interesting findings from our similar 2016 study was that the environment did not rank as a key concern of teens. But in our 2018 survey, the environment is back on the list. Ranked in order, the top five key concerns of teens are:
- Jobs and unemployment
- Prejudice and racism
- The environment
Another notable change since 2016 has been in teens’ more assertive activism. More than a quarter of respondents said they have “attended protests or rallies” or “boycotted a company” in the last year. In that same period, teens cited taking the following actions:
- Recycled regularly (60 percent)
- Educated family and/or friends about a cause (42 percent)
- Volunteered their time to a cause (33 percent)
- Donated money to a cause (22 percent)
One of the most fascinating findings of our study is teens’ belief that corporations have the same obligations as teens themselves to help solve social issues. Sixty-eight percent said companies have an obligation to help solve social problems, while 67 percent said they themselves have that responsibility. Only 10 percent said neither they, nor corporations, have an obligation to solve social problems.
And how do teens think companies are doing? Not so well. Only 28 percent of teens think companies are doing enough to support causes teens care about.
After learning a company supports a social cause:
- 69 percent of teens say they trust the company more
- 62 percent said they are more likely to purchase the company’s products
- 66 percent said they pay more attention to the company’s marketing/advertising
But teens are discriminating, if not skeptical:
- 50 percent of teens said they believe a company’s cause marketing is genuine if it makes a financial donation to a cause
- 50 percent of teens said they believe a company’s cause marketing is genuine if its employees work on the issue
- 44 percent of teens said they believe a company’s cause marketing is genuine if the company communicates about their efforts in their marketing/advertising
In Fuse’s 2016 study, the brands whose cause marketing efforts most resonated with Gen Z included Ben and Jerry’s, Chili’s, and the NFL. The 2018 study includes three new companies getting the attention of teens: