A new report from Havas Worldwide shows that citizens the world over are losing faith in government’s ability to effectuate significant change. In fact, the very definition of civic responsibility is changing, according to the study, which surveyed 10,219 men and women in 31 countries. The burden of responsibility is shifting to individual citizens as well as to business.
For instance, when asked which factors determine whether someone is a “good citizen”, “being a responsible consumer” ranked higher than voting.
The organizations in which respondents professed the greatest faith? Nonprofits.
Everyday Behaviors More Important Than Political Ones
The theory? People are eager for change and looking to have an impact on the world, just not via traditional modalities. Modern citizens consider everyday behaviors more important than political ones.
This is good news for cause marketers as consumers increasingly feel that voting with their dollars is more important than hitting the polls a few times each year. The study reports that “around half of respondents believe they have more influence as consumers than they do as voters, while only 14% disagree.”
Consumers Want Brands to Play a Bigger Role
As we’ve seen in other similar surveys, 69% believe businesses have a responsibility to make the world a better place and a majority reported that businesses are more effectively run than government. Instead of becoming politically active to produce a desired change, consumers are looking to their interaction with businesses to make a difference. Over half (57%) agree with the statement, “I would like my favorite brands/companies to play a bigger role in my local community.” Another trend reinforced by this study is the move toward local impact. Around two-thirds of participants agree with the statement, “I improve the economic health of my community when I buy locally.”
Looking to Social Media to Change the World
Also of note is the widespread belief (six in 10 respondents) that “social media gives ordinary citizens an extraordinary ability to influence others and create change.” In emerging markets, 68 percent of respondents agreed. A third are already using social media to “change the world for the better” and (pay attention to this next stat) 42 percent “expect to use it more in the future to promote worthy causes.”
Smart cause marketers are already capitalizing on these trends toward individual involvement, partnership with trustworthy, proactive organizations and engaging social media efforts to create real impact and shareable experiences. The most proactive will creatively lead the charge to empower consumers and employees in a true partnership that creates sustainable change and continues to challenge the status quo.