She no longer wants to know "what you stand for?" She wants to know "what you stand up for?"

So says a 2017 study from Cone Communications as it explores Corporate Social Responsibility and the American business. 

In their report, the researchers find that Americans are concerned about the political climate and how it affects social and environmental issues. They are looking for companies to take the lead in advocating for issues important to them.

Taking a look at the fresh data revealed by Cone*:

  •  70% of Americans believe companies have an obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be relevant to everyday  business operations
  •  87%% said they would buy a product because that company advocated for an issue they cared about
  •  88% would be more loyal to a company that supports a social or environmental issue

Because these stats are in line with similar surveys done by Cone in 2013 and 2015, it's safe to say that Corporate Social Responsibility isn't going away anytime soon.

It's one of the reasons we strongly endorse the Benefit Corporation, particularly if you're a small business. You see, this legal business entity is now offered in 32 states with pending legislation in 6 other states. The Benefit Corporation designation authorizes businesses to not only make a profit but provide a positive impact on workers, community and environment as its legally defined goals. And helps answer your customer's question, "what do you stand up for?"

Whether your impact is seen as providing volunteer hours for employees or financially supporting nonprofits you align with or helping protect the environment, you have the right structure to show what your business stands for and how you do it.  Just check in with your Secretary of State's office.

What's more, an annual Benefit Report communicates your good work to your key stakeholders via your website. You'll find tips on how to prepare that report here.

All of which means that if you're thinking today's customer cares deeply about social and environmental issues, you're right. In fact, there's no question about it.

*2017 Cone Communications CSR Study