Brands Should Be Wary of Bragging About Doing the Right Thing, Polling Shows

Plurality of consumers say brands ‘try too hard’ to appear altruistic
January 20, 2020 at 11:00 pm UTC

Marketers will often hype up a brand’s corporate social responsibility as a way to differentiate it from competitors, but new polling from PRWeek/Morning Consult suggests that many consumers are skeptical of the authenticity of such actions.

More than 4 in 10 U.S. consumers say that brands are trying too hard to appear as if they care about anything beyond sales, a larger share than those who say they enjoy companies’ efforts to trumpet their charitable efforts.

Gen Z consumers’ responses are evenly divided, while millennials are generally split. Meanwhile, Gen X and baby boomers are more cynical on the issue.

Most respondents (53 percent) on the Jan. 6-8 survey also said companies should “stick to what they do” and not get involved in the political or cultural world, while 26 percent said companies should use their influence to sway such matters.

Those sentiments soften among Gen Z consumers, who want more from the brands they support: One-third say companies should get involved in politics, while 39 percent disagree. Those figures are roughly similar to when Morning Consult polled on this issue in August 2018.

The survey was conducted among 2,201 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

A headshot photograph of Joanna Piacenza
Joanna Piacenza
Head of Industry Analysis

Joanna Piacenza leads Industry Analysis at Morning Consult. Prior to joining Morning Consult, she was an editor at the Public Religion Research Institute, conducting research at the intersection of religion, culture and public policy. Joanna graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications and holds a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].

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