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Alain Giguère

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Corporations & social responsibility - It all begins at home!

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 09-28-16 at 1:30 p.m.

For many, the notion of corporate social responsibility primarily evokes the redistribution of wealth in communities, associations and charitable causes, or environmental-protection projects. But one of the main findings of the latest CROP study on this issue leads to a more nuanced conclusion.

For consumers and citizens alike, corporate social responsibility begins with the manufacturing process, the supply chain, the impact that companies have on society and the environment. The commitment to causes, while considered very important, comes second.

A large majority of Canadians expect companies, above all, to treat their employees well, to sell products and services (and those of their suppliers) that pose no danger to people's health or the environment. They also expect companies to adhere to the highest standards of quality and ethics in their practices, wherever they are located.

Canadians are clearly segmented based on their expectations of corporate social responsibility. More than one out of two Canadians want to see companies demonstrate leadership in this area and say that how a company performs in this respect influences their purchasing decisions and choices.

Idealists, for example, have characteristics reminiscent of the alter-globalization movement. They are very ecological. They want wealth to be shared more “equitably”. They believe that their dream of a better world for everyone can be realized. While highly critical of companies, they believe that it is possible to collaborate with them. Because they are very connected and active on social media, they can potentially make a lot of “noise”—both bad and good!—that affects a company’s reputation.

Consequently, brands, companies and institutions need to ensure that the “consumers” belonging to the segments most sensitive to the issue of corporate social responsibility are favourably disposed toward them. Yet, according to our brand studies, this is not always the case!

Is your brand properly positioned on this issue? CROP can help you find out.

By CROP

The political climate in Quebec, September 2016

Categories: CROP in the news

Posted on 09-22-16 at 4:08 p.m.

The results of CROP’s latest monthly survey on the political climate in Quebec are hot off the press. The survey was conducted from September 15th to 19th, 2016 among 1000 panel respondents.

Click here for detailed survey results – FRENCH ONLY

Click here to read the related article in La Presse - FRENCH ONLY

By CROP

The political climate in Quebec, February 2016

Categories: CROP in the news

Posted on 02-23-16 at 1:05 p.m.

THE MOOD IN QUEBEC

Since the 2008 financial crisis, Quebecers have been feeling downright morose. Moreover, although we note some signs of resilience, the state of mind of Quebecers is very similar to that of a depressed person: fatalism, a feeling of lack of empowerment in life, low vitality, etc. At first, the election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party brought a real breath of fresh air.  This spurt was all too brief and the drag towards depression has returned. As was the case before October 2015, the majority of Quebecers get the impression that the province is going in the wrong direction.

PROVINCIAL POLITICS

Our monthly update indicates that the level of satisfaction with the provincial government is around 40%, and has been at that level for a few months. Our counterparts at Léger measure the level of satisfaction at around 30%. How can this variance be explained?

At CROP, we measure the government’s performance without referring to the party or its leader. Our fellow pollsters evaluate the performance by personalizing the measure and naming the party and the leader.

Therefore, one out of ten Quebecers (the difference between 40% and 30%) approve of the provincial government’s actions, but don’t like its representatives. In marketing-speak, we would say that they have confidence in the brand’s equity, but they don’t identify with the brand’s personality.

Companies such as Bell or McDonald’s “suffer” from the same syndrome. Favourability towards them is weak, but their sales are very strong. People don’t identify with the brand, but they consume it.

The question on level of satisfaction with the government allows us to measure the size of market change. Before choosing a party, voters ask themselves if they would re-elect the current government or not. For this 10%, the issue is: “Will I vote for the Liberal Party led by Philippe Couillard because I believe they are competent, or will I vote for another party because I don’t like them and what they represent?”

For the complete results, click here (French only).

By CROP

Social Networks: Users’ Hot Buttons

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-29-16 at 10 a.m.

Of course, there is still a certain overrepresentation of people under age 45, but breakthroughs in all age groups are increasingly apparent. Moreover, beyond the demographics, when it comes to the current accelerated expansion of the use of social networks, what especially commands attention is the kaleidoscope of new motivations that attracts people to them.

Indeed, analyses from our Panorama program clearly show that if over half of the population is now active on social networks, their reasons for doing so are increasingly numerous. At first, "early adopters" of this innovation were primarily motivated by the quest for status, to "be someone", to affirm their individual social identities. This motivation is definitely still active, but it is far from the only one that attracts users (those who have seen the movie Birdman will remember the scene where the girl tells her father – a movie star – that he’s nothing in life because he doesn’t even have a Facebook profile!).

The panorama of values that motivate usage has changed enormously since the emergence of these networks. There is now a need to "connect", that is, to share in an emotionally significant manner with others, a need for "humanity", a desire to remain engaged with others, as well as a need to help one another. A desire to improve life around oneself, and to contribute, notably by sharing one’s opinions.

All of this while having fun, playing!

Social networks are now sources of pleasure; they are fun to use (gamification), even, for some, one of the most addictive pastimes. We play at discovering others, to learn to "help one another" to contribute to a better world, as well as curating one’s social identity (through managing one’s profile).

Furthermore, analysis of the use of social networks based on frequency of use also points to a significant segmentation of values that motivate use.

First of all, the most active users, those who use social networks several times a day, incarnate the image of all users: the need to "connect", to share in an emotionally significant way with others, the need for "humaneness", etc. (note that the majority of social media users connect several times a day).

On the other hand, those who go on social networks on an almost daily basis express a need to stay in touch with others because they potentially feel somewhat excluded from society (notably expressing a sense of lack of control over their lives). They want to stay in touch with what's happening in terms of consumption, to know what others consume, to stay “with it", etc.

Finally, note that those who use them less often, those who are new to social networks, have the same motivations as the first generation of users: quest for status and social identity, need for recognition, etc., as if these are entry-level motivations, before being superimposed with other motivations.

In terms of specific networks, with the exception of less frequent Facebook users, all the social networks we analyzed answer the same basic motives: the need to connect, to stay in touch, for "humaneness", to help one another, to contribute, as well as to have fun and "play."

However, in addition, each of the platforms analyzed also answers specific motivations:

Facebook is a portal to assert one’s uniqueness, one’s individuality in society, compared to others, compared to one’s peers. This uniqueness also expresses itself through a certain degree of social activism, as well as through one’s consumption behaviour

Twitter is definitely a strong tool for social protest and the promotion of socio-ethical idealism

LinkedIn answers a need for community and promotion of one’s social status

Instagram is definitely the most narcissistic of all the platforms, the most focused on promoting one’s status, even though it, like Pinterest, expresses the motivation of discovering others

Finally, less frequent Facebook users reflect less frequent social network users in general, who are very focused on status promotion

Thus, in a short amount of time, social networks have developed unique cultural relevance within our society, with multiple roles that overlap and meet multiple needs.

During the same period, social networks became social media. The need to connect found here provides an opportunity for brands to create closer ties with consumers, to mobilize them and increase loyalty. However, they also represent a more immediate risk of punishment, if a brand’s behaviour is not up to people's expectations in terms of social and ecological responsibility. The conversations found on these networks can no longer be ignored by brands and businesses.

Finally, note that in addition to providing very specific answers to people’s individual needs, an undeniable sociopolitical purpose emerges from the diffusion of social media throughout the general population: the opportunity that it provides to contribute to improving the world, to life around us. Although this purpose has been present from the beginning, now it no longer involves just a handful of idealists, it extends to large groups of citizens who want to contribute modestly in their own way towards building a better world.

The opportunity for brands

Brands that assert their presence on social media definitely have the opportunity to offer experiences that meet needs expressed by users’ motivations. For some, fun and status-affirming experiences will be profitable. The content must translate into opportunities to play and assert a certain pride or fantasy.

For others, content that focuses on authenticity, significant emotional connections between people and real commitments in terms of social corporate responsibilities will attract engagement on networks.

Trends in the values and motivations of social network users (2010-2015)*


*Based on data from CROP’s Panorama program, representing the total Canadian population, for which data collection is conducted in late fall every year (n=2400/2500).

By CROP

Collaborative consumption: Motivation of potential users

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-29-16 at 9:59 a.m.

In recent years, the enormous public visibility of Uber’s and Airbnb’s activities have contributed greatly to raising consumer awareness about the potential of collaborative consumption, both for those who can share the use of some of their personal property, as well as for those who might prefer more flexible access to these goods and services.

People’s awareness of this new potential, combined with the evolution of digital technologies that increasingly facilitate developing these new "markets", might certainly lead us to anticipate significant growth in such initiatives in the coming years.

Even if one can really question the "collaborative" nature of Uber and Airbnb (when services are provided in exchange for monetary remuneration, we are talking about a purely commercial activity, a market), the fact remains that there is a certain generalization of new forms of people's involvement, as private individuals, in new markets that optimize, on one hand, the value of owners’ "underutilized" assets, and on the other hand, access for users.

This phenomenon is particularly interesting to us from the user’s point of view, in that it represents new ways to access consumer goods and services. Although, from the point of view of the markets, these new initiatives may have some destabilizing effects (for the taxi industry, hotels), they allow these users (“consumers”) access to goods and services at a lower cost (while maximizing cash flow in the market).

Moreover, for the user, such initiatives represent opportunities for new experiences that look hugely rewarding. Indeed, interest in collaborative consumption, namely the desire to share the use of an expensive item or service, rather than paying full price for its exclusive use, is generated by multiple motivations and needs, thus opening the door to many potential initiatives that can meet these needs.

Much easier access to consumption is definitely at the center of these motivations, as potential users, namely those who express interest in collaborative consumption, are most certainly enthusiastic consumers who are eager for innovation, fun experiences and who want to take advantage of all that the market may have to offer.

But they are hoping for much more. They express a strong need to build highly personalized lifestyles; we’re talking made-to-measure offers that are perfectly adapted to their most specific needs, as if the offers on the current market do not perfectly meet their needs so they want to explore options outside of "traditional" distribution channels. They aspire to unique experiences that are quite unique and very rewarding.

They are major hedonists. They want fun, intensity, stimulation and escape. They are hoping for access to all possible pleasurable experiences, and to be able to afford them (hence the idea of "collaboration" in terms of payment).

Pride is also a very important motivation for them. They aspire to status experiences, particularly in consumer experiences. They want to flaunt all the latest things on the market, the most popular brands and products and feel proud (hence once again a desire to have easier access to consumption).

Emotional connection with people is very important here too. "Collaboration" is an opportunity to discover people and what makes them different, and potential users consider such experiences with others very enriching.

Finally, they show an interesting mix of social responsibility and predisposition to civil disobedience!

Their consumption patterns definitely meet ethical and ecological criteria. They want to do business with companies and brands that are good corporate citizens. They value helping one another and are very sensitive to community issues in their neighbourhoods and regions.

On the other hand, they are also very critical of corporations, considering them responsible for most of the ills in our society. They denounce the lack of corporate sensitivity, inefficient bureaucracies, inflexible corporate and union constraints, and faced with what they see as glaring equity gaps, they are willing to disobey to achieve their purposes (regulatory issues pertaining to taxis and hotels do not move them unduly).

Thus, interest in collaborative consumption is motivated by...

- A desire for more flexible access to consumption
- A need to personalize their consumption (more choices)
- A desire for unique, fun, pleasurable experiences
- And for experiences that are status-oriented
- A desire to connect with people (to discover others through "collaboration")
- A desire to make ethical and ecological choices in consumption
- And a readiness to violate established rules, when deemed too restrictive

Note that this interest, in its most evident form, is apparent among 7% of the Canadian population, but in total, 45% of people might be tempted by collaborative options, depending on their relevance. Interest is fairly widespread when it comes to socio-demographics, while being more marked both among young people (18-34) and among younger Baby Boomers (55-64). Let us note that interest is also stronger among professionals and among Quebecers.

The opportunity for new brands

Given the strong level of interest in the population (quantitatively) and the diversity of motivations that inspire this interest, it is quite conceivable that we are only at the beginning of a generalization of all kinds collaborative initiatives in all possible areas of consumption. New brands will inevitably arise and the opportunity for the latter definitely lies in properly meeting potential users’ motivations. Initiatives that provide access at lower cost to unique, different, fun offers, and that offer pleasurable, ethical, and ecological experiences, that allow people to connect by collaborating will be occasions to build strong brands that resonate powerfully in people's lives.

The trend is just beginning. The need is latent. The demand is multi-dimensional. "Collaborative" consumption is definitely on the cusp of significant growth, from your family recipes to the use of your lawn mower! In fact, for example, a new hotel room sharing service, the Winston Club, will be launched in March for those who are interested (don’t worry, there will be at least two beds per room!).

By CROP