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consumers are still the toughest nut to crack

September 1999

Employees are far more appreciative of their company’s community efforts than consumers, according to a new study.

Research by corporate reputation specialist Chris Genasi, who is a director of the PR company Shandwick Welbeck, shows that more than 90 per cent of companies felt their corporate community investment (CCI) efforts had been either well recognised or adequately recognised by employees – while 70 per cent felt they had gone virtually unrecognised by consumers.

More than three quarters of respondents said local communities were also generally appreciative and even City institutions recognised efforts more than consumers.

Genasi’s survey, which forms part of a new briefing paper called Corporate community investment, said the results confirm business perceptions that ‘the consumer is the most difficult nut to crack’ when it comes to community policies. He claimed many frustrated senior managers of major corporations ‘have chosen not to focus on reaching this group given the lack of success to date’.

Genasi’s survey also showed that more companies (24 per cent) aimed their corporate community investment activities at employees and the local community than at the general public and consumers (both 10 per cent), who were down the list of targets behind politicians, the media and opinion formers (all 12 per cent). Only 2 per cent of companies said they aimed CCI activities at the City or trade customers.

Respondents were, however, optimistic. When asked if they felt awareness of CCI activity would improve among the public, 46 per cent said things would get better within five years, with another 46 per cent saying it would take between five and 15 years.




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