SunTrust Bank recently launched its "My Cause" promotion, whereby the bank gives each new checking account customer $100 to donate to his or her favorite charity or a $50 gift card customers can spend on themselves. According to a survey of 2,058 adults the bank conducted in advance of the launch, more than half (59%) said they would choose to donate the money rather than take the cash for themselves. At Cone we know that self-reported intentions do not necessarily predict behavior, particularly in the cause arena.
Consider the findings from the 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Survey: from 1993 to 2007, there has been a 31 percent increase in the number of Americans likely to switch from one brand to another, price and quality being equal, if the other brand is associated with a good cause. Yet, since 1993, there has been a 43 percent drop in those who have over the last year actually purchased a product from a company after hearing about its commitment to social issues. We applaud SunTrust and others in the financial services space for developing cause initiatives to engage their consumers, and we look forward to seeing the actual behaviors of SunTrust’s consumers for insight into what it is that really makes consumers move from purchase intention and attitude to actual behavior.