Global Citizens Demand Company Involvement In Natural Disaster Relief

    Global Citizens Demand Company Involvement In Natural Disaster Relief

Nearly seven-in-10 consumers believe companies are better equipped than
government agencies to respond to disasters, according to new research by Cone

PR Newswire

BOSTON, Aug. 21, 2013

BOSTON, Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --As communities around the world continue
to recover from natural disasters on epic scales, citizens look to companies –
not just governments or aid organizations – to provide critical relief
assistance. According to the 2013 Cone Communications Disaster Relief Trend
Tracker, nearly nine-in-10 (87%) global consumers believe companies must play
a role in natural disaster response – in part because the majority (69%)
thinks corporations are better able to effectively respond.

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Providing Aid Beyond the Check

Surveying more than 10,000 citizens in 10 countries, including the United
States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China,
India and Japan, the 2013 Cone Communications Disaster Relief Trend Tracker
reveals a near-universal demand for meaningful corporate aid beyond providing

  o89% of global citizens think companies should leverage their unique assets
    to lend support to affected communities (such as mobile response units,
    in-kind donations and employee volunteers)
  o87% wants companies to play a long-term role in relief efforts, not just
    immediate recovery

"It can't be a case of 'if' companies contribute to natural disaster recovery
efforts; it must be a question of 'how,'" says Craig Bida, executive vice
president – Social Impact,  Cone Communications. "Regardless of geography,
citizens are looking to companies – even more so than government agencies – to
create and implement real, on-the-ground solutions to acute and urgent needs.
Consumers in communities have been burned by slow reaction times or inadequate
resources in past relief efforts. What our research has documented is a
citizen call for help that corporations simply cannot ignore."

Consumers Ready to Lend Hands and Hearts

Consumers stand ready to work alongside companies toward relief efforts and
will reward those caring companies with a strong brand halo. More than half
(54%) of global citizens say they have already joined corporate disaster
relief efforts, while nine-in-10 global citizens have a more favorable
impression of a company after learning that it supports disaster recovery.

Country-Specific Insights

Corporate participation in disaster relief efforts is particularly critical in
China, one of the most disaster-plagued areas in the world^[1]. Citizens here
express a near-unanimous desire for company involvement in relief efforts (96%
vs. 87% global average). They are also exceptionally primed for participation
efforts, with more than three-quarters reporting they have already contributed
to corporate disaster relief activities (78% vs. 54% global average).

Similarly, citizens in both India and Japan are still recovering from recent
natural disasters, such as flooding in the North Indian state of Uttarakhand
and the massive Fukushima earthquake in Japan. Citizens in these countries
were significantly more likely to perceive companies as better equipped than
government to respond to disasters (85% and 80%, respectively, vs. 69% global

"As natural disasters seem to increase in intensity and frequency, company
involvement in relief and recovery becomes even more crucial," Bida says. "But
companies must think strategically about how to leverage their resources for
the greatest impact through taking stock of resources and vetting potential
partners. When lives are at stake, every dollar counts."

As companies work to develop both immediate and long-term relief programs,
Cone Communications offers the following five tips to best support efforts:

1.Look beyond the check: Although cash donations can give disaster
    nonprofits a much needed monetary injection to meet urgent needs, the most
    effective relief efforts don't always come in the form of dollar
    contributions. Companies that leverage unique assets – such as products,
    technology or networks – can often make significant impact when it comes
    to recovery and restoration efforts. Companies can also work to secure an
    enduring NGO partnership to ensure relief supplies can be quickly
    delivered across the globe.

2.Do your due diligence: In the age of crowdsourced donations and online
    giving, it's even more vital to choose nonprofit partners wisely. When
    initially selecting a partner, make sure the nonprofit can also make a
    long-term commitment to relief and rebuilding efforts and that the
    organization is prepared to report and communicate on the progress and
    impact of programs.

3.Engage your stakeholders: Company stakeholders, including employees and
    consumers, often want to take part in corporate relief efforts. Companies
    should not only provide channels for stakeholders to donate to relief
    efforts, but also make short- and long-term volunteer and giving
    opportunities available as appropriate.

4.Communicate efforts externally and appropriately – and don't forget about
    social: No company wants to appear exploitative during a disaster. At the
    same time, companies that fail to communicate may be criticized for
    neglecting to contribute. To ensure transparency, companies should issue
    brief, facts-only news releases and leverage social media as a way to
    disperse critical fundraising and relief information during disasters.

5.Don't give and run: Just because a disaster is no longer in the headlines,
    doesn't mean recovery is over. Although immediate relief needs are real
    and pressing, long-term rebuilding is a critical component of disaster
    efforts. Companies should be prepared to be involved for the long-haul,
    offering essential support for reconstruction.

^[1] Guha-Sapir D, Vos F, Below R, with Ponserre S. ^Annual Disaster
Statistical Review 2011: The ^Numbers and Trends^. Brussels: CRED; 2012.

About the Research
The 2013 Cone Communications Disaster Relief Trend Tracker presents the
findings of an online survey conducted February 7-28, 2013 by Ebiquity
(formerly Echo Research) among a demographically representative sample of
10,287 adults, comprising 5,127 men and 5,160 women 18 years of age and older.
The survey was conducted in 10 countries, including the United States, Canada,
Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, India and Japan.
The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is+/- 1% at a 95%
level of confidence. The margin of error for individual country samples is
higher. Some figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

About Cone Communications
Cone Communications ( is a public relations and marketing
agency known for igniting brands with high-impact strategies and programs
based in deep insights, unique subject matter expertise and innovation.
Focusing on key areas such as consumer product media relations, social media,
cause marketing, corporate social responsibility, nonprofit marketing,
corporate communications and crisis prevention/management – the agency is
positioned to help clients achieve both business and societal outcomes. Cone
Communications is a part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom
Group Inc.

About Diversified Agency Services
Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:
OMC) (, manages Omnicom's holdings in a variety of
marketing communications disciplines. DAS includes over 200 companies, which
operate through a combination of networks and regional organizations, serving
international and local clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries.

About Ebiquity
Ebiquity ( is a global media, marketing, and reputation
consultancy. Ebiquity are leaders in above- and below-line communications
tracking and research, providing independent data-driven insights to
marketing, corporate communications, and public relations professionals to
continuously improve their clients' business performance.

Ebiquity's Reputation & PR practice, formerly known as Echo Research, has a 24
year track record in marketing and communications research, providing
high-quality research, maintaining strict control of the research process,
creating tailored research reports, utilizing proprietary approaches and
tools, and enjoying longevity of relationships with clients.

Ebiquity operates globally through their network of 21 offices in 14
countries. Today, with a cumulative client list of over 1,000 businesses
worldwide, Ebiquity works in 33 major languages across 94 countries, with a
multi-lingual and multi-cultural core in its skill set.

SOURCE Cone Communications

Contact: Whitney Dailey, Cone Communications,,
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