As somebody who has worked for a social enterprise, I know the value of CSR and how it can have a wide social impact on the community but also how it can benefit your business.
So, just what exactly is CSR?
Corporate Social Responsibility is a concept which describes a company’s commitment to carry out their business in an ethical way and basically be good citizens and shouldn’t be thought of as a gimmick.
It’s important to steer away from simply thinking about what your CSR initiatives will do for the company’s profitability. If you do not ensure the approach is consistent with the values and vision of your company, your customers and employees will see through this and simply see your actions as a publicity stunt.
It’s not simply that a company chooses a ‘charity of the year’ or carries out the occasional charity raffle, these should be values that are embedded within the company.
Now you know the meaning of CSR, why is it important in your business?
- Customers are willing to pay more to businesses who embrace CSR. Social responsibility in marketing promotes an enhanced company image which can significantly impact on profitability and productivity.
- A recent report found that 66% of customers were willing to pay more for goods from brands that demonstrated social commitment.
- It encourages customer loyalty. People give to charitable organisations in high numbers, especially millennials, to attract customers and keep their loyalty, businesses need to pay attention to what customers care about. They will feel a sense of pride when buying from the business and they are more likely to recommend them.
- Carried out correctly, CSR can ensure you stand out from the competition when a marketplace is already crowded. Customers care about social issues, think about it, if you were faced with buying exactly the same product at the same price from two different companies, but one company gave more to charity and invested in their local community, you would choose those wouldn’t you!
- CSR makes employees happier and more fulfilled. 80% of employees report feeling more purpose when they believe their work makes a difference in the world. That sense of purpose is essential to employee loyalty and dedication, they are also more likely to stay with the company and we all know that reduced employee turnover makes for a more successful business.
CSR and how to market it
- From a marketing perspective, let’s face it, we’re always trying to tell people how better we are, how we are more diverse and so on – the purpose of CSR is to get across your value however and not to score leads.
- Marketing executives or managers have an integral part in communicating a company’s CSR message, as I’ve mentioned before however, this shouldn’t be used as a gimmick in your marketing to simply promote your business, you’re doing good for good, not PR.
- To brag or not to brag? Many businesses use CSR to show they are thinking of the little guy or helping the world to be a better place but shouting about what you’re doing constantly can result in people thinking you’re just doing these things for publicity so it’s a fine line to tread!
- A great way to share your CSR efforts is to involve your employees, ask them to share your news whether that’s on social channels or word of mouth.
Who’s doing it right?
There are many multi-national companies doing CSR right but you don’t have to have a 1000 strong workforce to do it right, why not replicate their message on a smaller scale.
Lego topped the Forbes list of companies with the best CSR reputations back in 2017 for it’s ‘Build to Change’ programme, other big players are Adidas, Starbucks, Walt Disney and Netflix.
For brand’s of all sizes it’s key to pay attention to the issues your customers are interested in and the impacts your company can make.
For more information on how you can promote CSR within your marketing feel free to get in touch!