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What We Intend To Do Is Often Not What We Actually Do


AUCKLAND (20 Sept 2007): The Robin Hood Foundation in New Zealand had searched for six months for global research that proves just how many consumers have switched brands to companies that have supported a good cause.

But all it could find internationally was research on consumers who stated their intention to switch brands, rather than those who actually had.

In partnership with global researcher Nielsen Media Research, the Robin Hood Foundation uncovered actual consumer behavior in New Zealand related to cause-related marketing. Its findings?

Over half of New Zealanders 10 years and over have bought a product or service because of its association with a charity or worthy cause.

What surprised them most was the clear ‘vote or veto’ from consumers in response to social reputations across hundreds of purchasing categories.

They analyzed what the consumer who cares was spending on their shopping basket every week, the brands they were buying, the likelihood they would pay more if a product was from a socially-engaged company, the frequency with which they bought a new car, which bank they chose, which mobile phone company they signed up with, which airlines they flew, and how they chose to invest their funds. The results of the study provided a detailed snapshot of how consumers viewed one company’s social stand versus another.

What they hadn’t expected was just how influential these consumers were. They were in the top two-thirds of their workforce, they had impressive discretionary spending, and they were happy to vote with their dollars.

The research also dug deep into consumers’ media habits insightful for companies wanting to understand how to reach them. Television viewing among these consumers was selective, but reading habits were well above the average in amount read and scope, they were loyal to radio stations, they used the Internet, they bothered to read billboards, and they remembered them.
All clear road markings for businesses wanting to know where to catch this attractive consumer who wants to know what businesses are doing socially.

Since that groundbreaking initial research caught the attention of the business sector three years ago, the original architect of the research, Nick Jones, along with Nielsen Media Research, has continued to further develop the unique "Consumer Who Cares" research for some of New Zealand’s biggest power companies, banks, airlines, televisions stations, and magazine publishers, its postal service, companies such as Coca-Cola, and charities such as the World Wildlife Fund and Make Poverty History.

Robin Hood Asia, which is launching this month at the Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility in Ho Chi Minh City, will build upon this innovative research and help businesses better understand the influence of its consumers. Robin Hood Asia asserts that doing good is good for business and that there are clear linkages between a company’s social stand and consumer behaviour.

Its two CEOs have between them 35 years of senior global corporate and UN experience. Their work will be at the nexus of where the business and the development dialogue meet.

They are not consultants, but innovation guides — hands on project managers for businesses wanting to innovate to alleviate poverty.

"Research provides business with the business case. It reinforces the view that their consumers want to support them doing the right thing. It also validates the argument that innovative approaches to doing business in low-income markets can have a meaningful impact on alleviating poverty. Its proof-positive validation," said Jude Mannion, Robin Hood Asia’s CEO.

Similar consumer research from the Philippines reinforces this:

  • 40% of people are aware of private corporations with projects that are supporting the country's development
  • 56% say private corporations should give substantial donations to the poor or communities in need
  • 44% of adults consider a company's social programs very important in deciding whether to buy its products — compared to an average of 25% of consumers in 12 major European countries (Spain has a high of 47% consumer interest, Sweden has a low of 4%)

Companies are responding to this consumer pressure and telling their stories of how they are making a difference. And their consumers are rewarding genuine commitments to doing good. The greater the impact of one’s social investments, the more likely the savvy consumer will advocate in support of that company’s products and services.


  • “Panorama” (Jan-Dec 2006) and “Good as Gold” Report (July-Dec 2004), Nielsen Media Research, and Nick Jones & Associates Ltd
  • “SWS First Quarter 2003 Survey Module on Corporate Social Responsibility Commissioned by the Philippine Business for Social Progress”, Social Weather Stations (July 2003)
  • “Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing Well By Doing Good”, Mahar Mangahas, Social Weather Stations (September 2006)

Jude Mannion


t: +852 8170-0604


Oren Schlein


t: +852 8170-3065


Robin Hood Asia works alongside business in developing innovations to alleviate poverty.

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