Editor’s note: Mario X. Carrasco is co-founder and principal at ThinkNow, an insights agency based in Burbank, Calif. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared under the title, “Responding in crisis: How brands show up influence consumer loyalty.” 

In early May, we took the temperature of consumers in the U.S. to learn how they view brands that support social causes. In general, corporate engagement in social and environmental causes has a positive impact on consumer perceptions and purchase intent for brands. In light of George Floyd’s death and the continued acts of lethal violence against communities of color, we are curious to learn how these dynamics have shifted in the wake of the current racial climate in America. But this research still provides insight into consumer sentiment toward corporate social good overall.

In our ThinkNow Corporate Social Responsibility (registration required) report, research shows that four in five consumers surveyed report they are either more likely to buy from or think more favorably about companies and brands that donate money or resources for social causes. That positive impact of giving to social causes decreases with age and is flat across ethnic/race segments, however. It is strongest among Gen Z and significantly weaker among Baby Boomers.

During times of crisis, consumer expectations of companies and brands increase. Nearly 75% of consumers surveyed feel it’s important that companies make donations to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them, Hispanics, women and Boomers are significantly more likely to feel this way.

Consumers look to brands during a crisis to see how they raise social consciousness and use their platforms to help. They also use this information to determine if they will continue to engage that brand after the crisis abates. During the George Floyd protests, for example, major b...