Pepsi Refresh ProjectThe social responsibility trend is quickly becoming a revived phenomenon. Everybody expects more from his favorite brands these days, and we are talking about more than just tangible benefits here. Pepsi is more refreshing when you know that drinking one helps provide up to $50,000 in grants for housing rescued labs. Converse sneakers are more fashionable when you know that recycling one will provide the rubber for a new basketball court.

A study in The New York Times by the Edelman Public Relations Firm reveals that 87% of Americans believe that corporations should be equally concerned with social interests as they are with business interests. A study by a public relations firm found that 80% of Americans were likely to switch to brands that supported a good cause, with the majority of the demographic (93%) being mothers.

A connection between being socially conscious and more profitable has emerged. Corporations are eyeing this opportunity hungrily, but the question of how to successfully pull off a campaign as lucrative as the Pepsi Refresh project remains. The answer to this question has sparked the creation of a division within companies that specifically works on cause-related marketing. Good Inc., the agency that created the Pepsi Refresh campaign, is one agency that has invested in the creation of a branch dedicated to corporate altruism, which it calls “GOOD/Corps.”

Branches like these are currently under a magnifying glass. Social media in particular has weakened the power of gimmicks, and networking websites like Facebook and Twitter enable consumers to keep a close watch on the activity of companies and the actual revenue being donated to each cause. Sebastian Buck, a co-leader of GOOD/Corps, states that “the values revolution is in many ways being amplified by the digital revolution.”

With the ever-increasing presence of social media, and the escalating importance of corporate responsibility to society, consumers have more power than ever to create demand for brands that will better society.