Global Consumer Responsibility Segmentation: Cookie Cutter Communications Won’t Cut It

As CSR becomes mainstream, consumers' role in the responsibility equation continues to evolve. Our newest research study, the 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study, found that consumer attitudes and behaviors around CSR vary not just by geography, but by demographic and psychographic factors as well. The study's Global Consumer Responsibility Segmentation shines a light on how global consumers view their role in addressing social and environmental issues through their purchasing and reveals four distinct personalities: the Old Guard, the Happy-Go-Lucky, the Bleeding Heart and the Ringleader. Uncovering critical insights for marketers, from message receptivity to types of engagement, the Global Consumer Responsibility Segmentation makes one thing very clear: a one-size-fits-all approach will not work. Varying motivations demand different approaches to communications and engagement.

Here's a sneak peak:

Old Guard

  • Personality type: Likely male and over the age of 55, the Old Guard does not believe he plays a role in addressing social or environmental issues through his purchasing decisions. When it comes to purchase, he's looking for traditional values like price, quality and convenience. In fact, if he does purchase a responsible product, 32 percent say it's merely by chance.
  • Tip for marketers: The Old Guard is more traditional and wants his communications that way too. When engaging this group, make sure the call-to-action is turn-key.

Happy Go-Lucky

  • Personality type: Typically aged 18-34 and equally likely to be male or female, the Happy-Go-Lucky believes her role is to buy products she thinks are socially and environmentally responsible, but only if it's convenient. She is optimistic about her ability to positively influence issues through purchasing (72%), but it's not just about doing good; she also needs to feel good. Thirty-one percent of Happy-Go-Lucky consumers say "making me feel good" is the primary benefit sought from purchasing responsibly.
  • Tip for marketers: Reach out to this group with easily accessible communications focused on dual benefits – messages that show the benefit to society or the environment and make them feel good about purchasing.

Bleeding Heart

  • Personality type: Typically female between ages 18 and 34, the Bleeding Heart believes her role is to proactively seek responsible options every time she shops (or as often as possible) and the number one benefit she seeks from responsibly made products is to positively impact society. But companies beware, she does not buy unthinkingly. Ninety-two percent of Bleeding Hearts indicate a likelihood to boycott products or services they find negligent — and nearly three-in-five (57%) have already done so.
  • Tip for marketers: This group wants to see both personal and corporate impact through their purchases and they want their voice heard. Make sure to provide avenues for feedback to keep this highly inquisitive group satiated. 


  • Personality type: Typically over the age of 35 and just as likely to be male or female, the Ringleader believes his role is to not only purchase responsibly every time he shops, but also encourage others to do the same. He goes the extra mile because he strongly believes individuals can have a significant (45%) impact on issues. CSR is top of mind as nearly all (92%) have taken a company's social or environmental commitments into account when deciding which products to recommend to their friends.
  • Tip for m arketers: This passionate group wants a transparent and detailed dialogue. When communicating with this group, consider a collaborative approach as the Ringleader is eager to share his opinion.

Want more information on the Global Consumer Responsibility Segmentation? Download the full 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study for free here.


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