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Cision and the Institute for Public Relations examined the conversation around environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) topics. This first report focuses on the ‘S’ in ESG — social impact.

Executive Summary

The past few years have brought a renewed focus on social issues and activism, which has had an impact on consumers’ expectations from brands. Using Brandwatch’s Consumer Research tool, we analyzed nearly 209 million social media mentions and keywords relating to specific social issues.

Questions addressed in this study include:
• What social issues are generating online discussion and media coverage?
• What key themes and topics emerge?
• What brands are associated with social issues most frequently and why?
• How are brand perceptions tied to action or inaction on social issues?
• How do consumers want brands to address key social issues?

This study presents nine key findings related to social topics including:
-LGBTQ+ Rights
-Race Relations
-Mental Health
-Climate Change
-Voting Rights
-Gender Issues
-Gun Violence
-Healthcare Reform

Cision and the Institute for Public Relations analyzed online mentions for social issue topics from May 1 to July 31, 2021, using Brandwatch’s Consumer Research tool. Powered by artificial intelligence technology, Brandwatch Consumer Research analyzes online mentions and classifies keywords and phrases used online into topics. The queried topics were “race relations,” “gender issues,” “voting rights,” “healthcare,” “gun violence,” “immigration,” “climate change,” and “mental health.” The data set included 208.96 million total mentions from 75.5 million unique authors. The total online mentions comprised both news and social media mentions.

About the Institute for Public Relations
Founded in 1956, the Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations.™ IPR creates, curates, and promotes research and initiatives that empower professionals with actionable insights and intelligence they can put to immediate use.  IPR predicts and analyzes global factors transforming the profession, and amplifies and engages the profession globally through thought leadership and programming. All research is available free at and provides the basis for IPR’s professional conferences and events.

As a global leader in PR, marketing and social media management technology and intelligence, Cision helps brands and organizations to identify, connect and engage with customers and stakeholders to drive business results. PR Newswire helps companies meet their communications and disclosure needs. A network of approximately 1.1 billion influencers, in-depth monitoring, analytics and its Brandwatch and social media platforms headline a premier suite of solutions. Cision has offices in 24 countries throughout the Americas, EMEA and APAC. For more information about Cision’s award-winning solutions, including its next-gen Cision Communications Cloud®, visit www.cision. com and follow @Cision on Twitter.

Media Contact
Nikki Kesaris
Communications & Marketing Manager
Institute for Public Relations

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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