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Business must address societal issues: poll

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 (Bernama) -- About 92 per cent of Malaysian consumers feel it is important for business to address societal concerns, based on a survey on how Malaysians feel about a variety of societal issues that affect consumer attitudes and purchase behaviour.

But only 42 per cent of the survey respondents rate the current performance as excellent or good, pointing to a need for businesses to re-look their investment in social purpose, according to the Edelman goodpurpose Malaysia Report 2012, released today, based on the survey.

A high number of Malaysian consumers surveyed (93 per cent) said they were personally involved in supporting good causes over the last 18 months, significantly above the global average of 60 per cent, Edelman Malaysia said when releasing the findings of the survey in a statement.

In a show of consumer strength, 66 per cent agree that "People Like Me" now have more power to make a difference, with 87 per cent likely to buy products or services from a company that actively supports a good cause.

"An almost equal number will recommend the brand or organisation (83 per cent) and share positive opinions or experiences about the company (82 per cent)," the statement said.

Bull Market consumers are flexing their purpose muscle through actions such as sharing, donating, and volunteering.

"This spells significant opportunity for marketers," said Raymond Siva, Managing Director, Edelman Malaysia.

"With the rapid growth of the middle class, Malaysian consumers have a newfound level of purchasing power.

"They are demanding that brands and corporations take the lead on issues that remain personal to them, the top three being improving quality of healthcare, protecting the environment and equal opportunity to education," he said.

Malaysian consumers (96 per cent) have not been spared by the global economic downturn, with 62 per cent saying they have reduced leisure shopping and 46 per cent reducing spending on electricity, food and charitable donations respectively.

However, 83 per cent have more trust in a brand that is ethically and socially responsible and 81 per cent would help a brand promote their products or services if there is a good cause.

In Malaysia, it is apparent that brands aligning themselves with causes are not only securing more consumer consideration, but are also earning their dollars and support.

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