According to research released by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, social content that’s inspirational is a powerful way to generate emotional engagement.
We could not agree more! For years, the team at Embolden has observed the impact of positive, uplifting messages on improving lives and business results. We believe social impact messages are an especially strong source of inspiration, mainly because in today’s culture, community is becoming an integral component of work, life, and wellness.
Our research study below offers a case in point. Or, skip the research and just jump to the end of the article to get the three takeaways. (Hint: 1. Update your messages. 2. Avoid the "corporate cram down." 3. Scale the one-to-one.)
Research Study: Engaging Consumers Through “Doing Good”
A few years ago, our team recruited thirty-four parents with one or more children under the age of eighteen. They were asked to complete a “doing good” drawing and painting exercise with their children designed to celebrate the good the families were already doing—regardless of the causes supported.
Following the exercise, parents were asked to participate in a brief online tutorial about the ways they and their families were participating in one or more social impact activities, including what we call the “10 Ways to Do Good”:
- Caring about health and wellness
- Giving to charities
- Volunteering at a charity
- Serving on a charity’s board of directors
- Purchasing products that support a cause
- Recycling and respecting a sustainable environment
- Donating items of food and clothing
- Marketing a favorite charity
- Sharing with family and friends in need
- Celebrating at community events
At the conclusion of the study, our researchers asked three questions:
1. “If there were products on the market today that helped you engage with your family in one or more of the 10 Ways to Do Good, would you be likely to purchase those products?”
85 percent answered YES, they would be likely to purchase those products.
2. “Are you likely to use part or all of the material in the survey to help teach your children or grandchildren, eighteen years of age or younger, about the 10 Ways to Do Good?”
100 percent answered YES, the "doing good" messages were useful.
3. “Do you feel like you have a better mental picture of the day-to-day activities that are part of your overall social impact—how you are making a positive difference in the lives of other people?”
91 percent answered YES, they felt better about the ways they are making a difference.
Wow. With numbers like that, it only made sense to go deeper with sixty-minute individual interviews with participants. And the results were equally powerful:
I want a company to acknowledge my current situation as it relates to social impact.
I want a company to motivate me by making it easy for me to get involved in doing good in the ways I like best.
I want a company to inspire me to involve my children in doing good, and I want a company to understand my need to educate my children about doing good.
Additional color commentary was equally illuminating. Here are a few more comments from the parents in the study:
“I would purchase products that help me reinforce good values and morals with my daughter. I’m a single mom, so activities that are fun for her and let me spend a few minutes reinforcing our family values are very helpful.”
— Marie, mother of one girl, age 8
“A company that can help me spend time with and interact with my family is a company I want to support.”
— Christa, mother of one girl, age 5, and five boys, ages 7, 9, 10, 13, and 14
“I was surprised at how much good we are doing as a family. Sometimes you can get burned out doing the same things. The online survey reminded me that there are many ways my kids can be helpful and do good.”
— Kate, mother of one boy, age 4, and one girl, age 8
Your Three Takeaways
Here’s what all of this means to a business striving to build a new customer pipeline or retain top employees:
1. Update your messages.
Your customers, clients, prospects, current employees, and recruits are listening differently to what you say. They will pay close attention to how much (or how little) you care about them as human beings, which comes through loud and clear (or not) in the types of messages you share in your communications and through social media.
2. Avoid the "corporate cram down."
The people you want to attract and retain--whether customers or employees--want your company to demonstrate a willingness to listen to what they care about. They don’t want to experience a “corporate cram down” of what you think they want to hear.
3. Scale the one-to-one.
One of the biggest challenges you face is scaling your outreach and relationship building to achieve authentic, emotional connections with your audiences and get the real-time feedback data you need to make business decisions. Are you ready?
“Doing good” in your messaging and relationship-building can give you a jump start to achieving your business development, recruiting, and retention goals. And that’s good for everyone.