Beauty brands have been supporting philanthropic causes for decades, but the advent of social media has made sharing these viral campaigns with consumers practically effortless. From poverty to cancer research to education to end violence, we asked more than 4,400 beauty consumers to tell us* why social philanthropy matters to them, and to the industry overall.
When asked specifically about brands becoming more socially conscious, 88% agree they have noticed that more brands are supporting social causes, and 96% say that when given the choice between a product which supports a philanthropic cause and one which does not (of the same price and quality), they are more likely to choose the philanthropic product.
Philanthropy Drives Loyalty
At the heart of social giving and cause-based beauty is the very real fact that women just feel better when they use their spending power for philanthropic missions. In fact, 97% of women surveyed said they feel good supporting a brand that stands for a cause or donates a portion of its sales in support of missions such as fighting poverty, ending human trafficking or breast cancer research, etc.
74% of beauty consumers agree that they are more likely to like, tweet, pin, or pic your brand and products with their online social circles if your company supports a charitable cause.
As brands show their social responsibility via philanthropy, consumers see themselves as contributing to the greater good through their actions (and dollars). This helps them to connect with your brand on two levels: as purchasers and good citizens.
These kinds of connections help foster long-term loyalty and make it easy for consumers to decide who to reward with their repeat business. The brand that understands them both as a beauty consumer and a human stands to win big. Plus, giving back just feels good.
Sharing the Goodness
The emotional part of philanthropy makes consumers want to share their experiences: 74% of beauty consumers agree that they are more likely to like, tweet, pin, or pic your brand and products with their online social circles if your company supports a charitable cause.
It’s worth noting that a commitment to your chosen social mission is critical, because consumers are watching.** Once your brand has targeted and picked a cause or charity to support, proceeds must go to that cause, and ideally, this giving should be a long-term relationship.
70% of women say they are more likely to buy a product from a company that supports a social issue.
Consumers are sensitive to brands that say one thing and then do another, particularly with regards to cause-related giving. Pick your partner wisely, and support them whole-heartedly if you want your social program to really make an impact with consumers.
Capturing New Consumers
Whether the brand is big or small, 88% of consumers say that if a brand is willing to throw its support behind a philanthropic mission, they want to support that brand.
Philanthropy even informs her future purchasing decisions. When considering a new beauty product, 70% of women say they are more likely to buy a product from a company that supports a social issue; 58% are willing to pay more for products that support a social mission (61% of women are willing to pay 10% more for socially conscious products; 26% between 11% and 20% more).
88% of consumers believe that supporting a charitable cause gives small indie brands more visibility and credibility with the beauty consumer.
This translates into more potential future sales and brand exposure as these consumers are the ones taking to social media to tell their extended group of friends and influencers what products they just purchased—and why.
The causes consumers would most like brands to support are, not surprisingly, heavily focused on women’s issues, including: women’s cancers (76%), domestic violence (69%), human trafficking (64%) and poverty (54%). Other important causes are children’s cancers (70%), animal testing (62%), education for underserved communities (53%) and protecting the environment (51%).
Giving Indies an Edge
As a small or indie brand, you may be struggling with finding a way to make a philanthropic budget fit in with your launch plan, particularly if sales are still ramping up—but it’s an investment worth making.
For starters, 88% of consumers believe that supporting a charitable cause gives small indie brands more visibility and credibility with the beauty consumer. In addition, 90% agree that, if deciding between a large and small brand (which both support a charitable cause, price and quality being equal), they would prefer to buy their products from the indie or artisan brand vs the well-known national brand.
27% of consumers feel these charitable causes should support women.
Perhaps this is because women overwhelmingly (70%) agree that indie brands with a philanthropic mission are more committed to their cause than a big brand. Or perhaps it’s because women are just more interested in supporting a small, indie brand and their philanthropic mission than they are big brands—even if that well-known brand also has demonstrated its social consciousness through a social cause.
How Much is Enough?
For all brands, whether large or small, established or indie, consumers are expecting a lot. Although consumers overwhelmingly believe brands are becoming more socially conscious, more than half (56%) feel brands should be doing even more to support philanthropic causes.
And, because beauty brands are supported primarily by women, 27% of consumers feel these charitable causes should support women. After all, causes which benefit and help women overcome serious life issues, such as cancer, hunger or domestic abuse, strike a chord with women everywhere, and help them not just feel beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well.
Denise Herich is co-founder and managing partner at The Benchmarking Company (www.benchmarkingcompany.com), which provides marketing and strategy professionals in the beauty and personal care industries with information about its customers and prospects through custom consumer research studies, focus groups, its annual PinkReport, and consumer beauty product testing for marketing claims.
*Online survey of 4,455 U.S. female beauty buyers, September 2016; The Benchmarking Company.
**Learn more about cause marketing best practices in Sheri Koetting’s “Does Your Beauty Brand Have a Purpose?”