There are undoubtedly benefits to reap from socially conscious actions. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a term established in the 1960s, yet only in recent years has it been an essential aspect of marketing strategy.
As the term suggests, CSR relates to a business working towards the betterment of society. There are vast options for responsible actions, however the most memorable CSR schemes tend to relate directly to the appropriate sector of a given business. For example, a building company may opt for eco-friendly materials or purely charge labour costs for charitable projects, whilst employing a local workforce.
When we approach a project, we think beyond simply solving problems - we consider the most ethical approaches, and the most productive business strategy for longevity.
Many CSR strategies may seem counterintuitive for profiteering, they'll likely cost more money compared to other less conscientious solutions. However, the premise is that businesses have a duty to contribute positively, arguably selflessly.
As we're in a social media generation, companies are easily held accountable and are much more transparent in nature as individuals are able to research, report and respond to large cooperations on such an accessible level never before possible. For example, a customer could voice a concern on the Coca Cola facebook page and have their thoughts viewed by millions of people, which demands that the Coca Cola team members are switched on and engaging with their audience in a constructive manner.
During our COVID-19 discussion, we mentioned two alternative responses to the pandemic. The first was a chain of bars choosing to lay off all staff whilst the venues were closed, the latter was a major beer manufacturer encouraging customers to buy vouchers for their local bars to support their cash flow during trying times- this was aided by the manufacturer donating an additional 100% value to the voucher to double the investment. As expected, social media condemned the former chain calling for boycotting of their premises whilst praising the innovative charity of the latter. But what is going on here, is the first strategy selfish, to save money, and the latter purely selfless?
It can be argued that a brand intrinsically will have their own interests at heart. The act of effective CSR generates a positive brand image, and almost always correlates to more sales, advertising and positive public image.
CSR schemes may prove expensive, yet the results can outweigh the initial costs. Whilst advertising costs money, CSR often leads to press coverage and strong word-of-mouth approval. If your business is seen to support others, then likewise, you're likely to receive support too.
Companies with a clearly defined sense of purpose are up to 50% more likely to successfully expand into a new market.
Source: The Business Case for Purpose
50% of millennials say they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values.
Source: The Deloitte Millennial Survey
More than half of millennials would defend a purpose-driven company if people spoke badly of it.
Source: Cone Purpose Study 2018
When it comes to creating a CSR campaign, we believe it is important to consider the aims in detail and also the way your brand will implement it. By all means acknowledge the potential benefits for your company, but do not put a selfish aim at the centre of your efforts.
Ultimately, the best CSR projects will be philanthropic and human centered.
Place passionate people in charge of the campaign, ensuring that everyone involved is motivated by the campaign mission and that they want to genuinely make positive changes.
Accept praise, but acknowledge others- by spreading the socially responsible efforts, your brand image will skyrocket.
By being humble, your customers will trust and respect the brand more. Break up your marketing strategies to keep CSR as a separate entity, ensuring that the business hat is replaced with a humanitarian hat for that section of operations.
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