We are just a few days into December and are waiting to see this year’s cheery and promotion-filled holiday campaigns (promotions we can’t quite complain about). It’s no secret that sales and promotions capture the attention of most shoppers, but as consumers begins to move toward conscious consumerism, brands are shifting their holiday campaigns toward cause marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR). 

According to PR Newswire, 54 percent of Americans consider themselves to be socially conscious shoppers, and nearly 63 percent of shoppers prefer to purchase holiday gifts from brands that support specific social causes (PR Newswire, 2018). 

A recent SAP survey gives us further insight on how consumers are choosing to buy with brand purpose in mind. Here are some findings from that survey: 

  • Consumers are willing to pay more for values, The survey showed that more than half of respondents said they were willing to pay more for a holiday purchase from a brand that supports a cause (SAP, 2018).
  • Brand must be transparent in business practices, About 67 percent of the participants expressed that companies must be transparent during their business practices in order to prove authenticity (SAP, 2018).
  • Shoppers want their values to align with the brands, During last year’s holiday season, the values most important to shoppers was environmental sustainability, education and diversity and inclusion (SAP, 2018).

Led by an estimated 83 million millennials in the world, consumers are demanding companies to lead with compassion, authenticity and more ethical practices (Anderson, 2019). Here’s a look at how some brands are doing CSR right just in time for the holidays! 


Before the start of Black Friday shopping, the outdoor clothing brand made a promise to its consumers of that it would donate 100 percent of its sales during the 2016 holiday promotion.  According to the Patagonia CEO, Rose Marcario, the brand was only expecting to make $2 million in profits, but instead received 5 times more than the projected amount of sales (Patagonia, 2016). 

The brand announced it reached a record-breaking $10 million in sales during its Black Friday promotions, promising to donate 100 percent of its global and online retail sales to environmental organizations who “are on the frontlines to protect our air, water and soil for future generations.” 

Patagonia’s transparency during the holiday campaign fueled consumers to shop for a brand that cared.

The Coca-Cola Company

In 2016, Coca-Cola created the ‘Unsung Heroes’ of the Holiday campaign, partnering with the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) to shine a spotlight on the special people who put in a little extra effort during the holidays. Their holiday commercial featured Cokes being delivered to ‘unsung heroes’, such as a mom cooking a holiday meal.

The brand vowed to donate $1 million to CMN hospitals for every specially-wrapped holiday “Share a Coke” bottle sold throughout the month of December, urging customers to share a coke in order to help the brand give back.


Let’s see which brands are giving back this holiday season!


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