GoodCorps Survey Evaluates How Consumers Understand Goodness

Ask anyone who’s launched a sustainable brand, and they might tell you that what consumers say they’ll do to support social and environmental causes and what’s reflected at the cash register are sometimes two different stories. According to social impact consultancy GoodCorps, the disconnect between sustainable words and actions might be better understood by asking consumers a fairly simple question: What makes a brand good?

GoodCorps’ Brand Goodness Report, released today and the second of a three-part research project that explores how consumers define “goodness” and navigate purchasing decisions, finds that the language businesses use to define “good” is at the crux of that question. In fact, 94 percent of the 300 conscious consumers surveyed for the report said they were very or extremely likely to support “good” brands after hearing about companies’ community and environmental efforts in more “human” terms.

“We want to support those intrapreneurs who need more evidence of the return on investing in good,” Anna White, director of strategy and research leader for GoodCorps told 3p. “The Brand Goodness Report found a strong correlation between companies that do good and consumer loyalty. Our hope is that people can take those statistics to their leadership team when advocating for new programs.”

At a SXSW Eco presentation this week, Grace Kim, director of partnerships and strategy at GoodCorps, shared insights from the study, which surveyed 300 Good Magazine readers through a series of primarily open-ended questions that allowed individuals to define “goodness” in their own words.

“I believe there’s a gap between intention and action because some people lack the information, access or opportunity to act on their values,” Kim said.

One reason consumers may not act on their intention to buy more sustainable products is often due to the jargon that companies use. GoodCorps found that conscious consumers better connect with more human terms, such as “trust, fairness, equality, authenticity and transparency.” Words like shared value, triple bottom line, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) were not considerations at the top of people’s list.

Even more, 65 percent of respondents shared that they bought products or used services after they found out about a company’s or product’s goodness on more human terms. Companies, brands and products with the following characteristics were perceived as good by those surveyed:

  • 96 percent: Treating people right
  • 95 percent: Transparency
  • 93 percent: Honest leadership
  • 92 percent: A kind and human-centered culture
  • 91 percent: Supporting the local community
  • 89 percent: Products are made sustainably

The most interesting takeaway from GoodCorps’ report is that consumers are defining what it means to be good in their own ways. Businesses who design their strategies and products by what matters most to conscious consumers (and use their language) will find a more fluid path to doing well by doing good.

Image used with permission by GoodCorps

Nayelli Gonzalez

Nayelli Gonzalez is Managing Director of Marketing & Strategic Partnerships at, a capacity building organization that supports the growing ecosystem of impact-focused conveners, accelerators, and mappers. A sustainability innovation strategist and storyteller dedicated to purpose-driven work, Nayelli has advised startups, nonprofits, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies to drive engagement and amplify positive impact in the world. She's a trained journalist with an MBA who writes on sustainable business and social impact trends for a variety of publications.

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