I don't want to seem to be exploiting the horrendous human tragedy of the Bangladesh garment factory disaster for PR insight. Yet there's an interesting segment of a Harris poll on the subject that you might want to be mindful of. It involves younger Americans, aged 18–34, who were questioned and could, Harris suggests, "indicate a new type of activism."
Those younger Americans said they'll be more likely to purchase clothes from Bangladesh than before the disaster. "In the past, when things like this happen," Harris explains, "Americans would 'blame the country' and stop purchasing goods from there. Younger Americans are more intertwined with a global sense of community. This higher likelihood to purchase could be a sign that they are concerned about the workers themselves — if no one is buying the clothes, those who survived may find themselves out of work and in worse shape than just having poor working conditions."
Only five percent of those aged 55 and older said they'd be more likely to buy clothes "made in Bangladesh," Harris notes.
Thus, younger Americans seem more subtly responsive to the clothing factory disaster, and significantly more empathetic with the survivors, than older people.
"More intertwined with a global sense of community" — hold on to that when it comes to younger Americans, and ponder what it might imply.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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