Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, NNPA Columnist

OPINION – Here’s a news flash: consumers prefer doing business with companies that make a positive difference in the world.  Are you surprised to hear this? Are you that kind of a consumer? Hopefully so. Nielsen recently surveyed more than 28,000 online participants from 56 countries including North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East/Africa, and Latin America, and released the Who is the Global, Socially-Conscious Consumer.  Nielsen defines the “socially-conscious consumer” as those who say they would be willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that give back to society.  There are a lot of statistics here, but it’s interesting – and important – so stay with me.

  • Around the world, two-thirds of consumers (66 percent) say they prefer buying products and services from companies with programs that give back to society.
  • Sixty-two percent of respondents say they prefer to work for these socially conscious companies.
  • Fifty-nine percent invest in these companies.
  • Nearly half (46 percent) of all consumers surveyed say they would pay extra for products and services from these companies.

Eighteen causes were presented to the participants in this wide-reaching survey.  Among the top 10 causes, environmental sustainability ranked as the number one, with 66 percent of consumers caring about it across the board. Improvements to science, technology and math education came in second at 56 percent; eradicating extreme hunger and poverty came in third at 53 percent.

The other top 10 causes, depending largely on the region of the world, that round out what consumers care about are: achieve universal primary education, provide relief following natural disasters, support small business and entrepreneurship, promote racial, ethnic and cultural inclusiveness, increase access to clean water, undertake development projects that benefit the communities around their offices or manufacturing units and protect animals.

Nielsen conducts this research so that our global clients better understand the socially-conscious consumer and our communities so that both benefit.  But guess what? Nielsen’s commitment to social responsibility goes beyond simply measuring what consumers feel about it. You can find us at community events around the country.

We partner with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) to bring this column to you. Last fall, we collaborated with NNPA on the first in a series of in-depth reports that will be released over the next three years titled, The State of African – American Consumer, which as you know by now is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive study that told our story as powerful consumers in this country.  Nielsen also proudly sponsors large and small organizations around the nation such as the NAACP and National Urban League, as well as the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Legislative Conference.

In addition to dollars, Nielsen offers workshops and brain trusts addressing issues critical to Blacks. And let’s face it, research can sometimes be daunting. That’s why Nielsen’s Public Affairs team works to keep it fun and engaging for consumers from all walks of life. From online and mobile media consumption to consumer packaged goods purchases, Nielsen keeps a pulse on the opinions and everyday activities of our African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic consumers in order to better understand their shopping and media consumption patterns.

Nielsen’s “You Matter” campaign takes an engaging approach to demonstrate and reinforce the importance of consumers’ participation in Nielsen’s panel studies and surveys. That’s why you can find us engaging with you at events such as the Steve Harvey Hoodie Awards in Las Vegas, the Tom Joyner Family Reunion in Orlando and Taste of Soul in Los Angeles. If you find yourself at one of our booths, prepare yourself to be informed and engaged. We promise interactive on-site booth participation. On-air radio personalities like DJ Thump from 92.3 The Beat in Las Vegas and Wes Hall, from Hot 92.3 in Los Angeles, help us get crowds excited about Nielsen’s insights with trivia games and on-site music.

The underlying message throughout all of our consumer outreach events is simple, and you hear me talk about it routinely in this space: “If you’re ever asked to participate in a Nielsen study or survey, please say “yes,” because You Matter.  So now that you know where consumers around the globe stand on social responsibility, and where Nielsen stands on giving back as a company, the question is:  how socially conscious are you?  How are you using your power? Hopefully, you’re using it for good.


Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to


The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), known as the Black Press of America, is the federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers in the United States.