In today’s competitive world, companies need to keep a constant eye on their reputation. Corporate reputation is the stakeholders’ perception of your brand, which can have a great impact on your overall business performance. So, how can a positive brand image be leveraged through the appropriate use of corporate social responsibility and what are the benefits?
Corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, and brand reputation
Crafting a positive brand reputation can be challenging and is different than simply leaving it up to the opinions of others. Companies can’t control the public’s biases, they can, however, nudge positive or negative sentiment to a greater or lesser extent through corporate social responsibility (CSR) and good corporate citizenship.
CSR goes hand-in-hand with a smart brand strategy. Corporate social responsibility strategies regard areas of concern to organisations. Effective policies aim to improve relationships with local communities, employees, and customers by encouraging ethically and environmentally responsible activities. The ultimate end result is sustainability, complementing business activities through socially responsible actions as well as community and environmental support.
Stakeholders’ perceptions of corporate social responsibility
CSR can be critical in building a strong employer brand, contributing directly to attracting top talent to your business. Research has proved, more than 80% of millennials expect companies to integrate CSR policies in their operations. In addition, 82% of young candidates would aim to be employed by a company publicly renowned for their strong business ethics, while over 60% would accept a pay cut to be employed by a socially responsible organisation.
Another study revealed people’s willingness to purchase, recommend, or work for an organisation is influenced by about 60 percent by its reputation and CSR efforts. These statistics paint a clear picture, showing that traditional workplace attractiveness drivers such as money and prestige, are no longer important. They highlight the significance of CSR policies in attracting, retaining, and getting the most from talented employees and candidates. Consequently, a good corporate citizen isn’t just “nice to have” anymore. Remaining a socially responsible company has, nowadays, become a “must-have”.
Business benefits of CSR
Increased customer engagement – Consumers vote with their wallets, supporting companies that actively commit to employee welfare, community development, environmental sustainability, and human rights. Living in a customer-centric world, where people always stay connected through social media, consumers want more than just to feel good about using a good or service. They feel the urge to share a story behind it. And since stakeholder sentiment can either make or break an organisation, having a positive corporate social purpose that resonates with your community, can certainly give your business competitive advantage.
Maximised sales – Another survey has indicated that almost 90% of consumers would “more likely” make a purchase from a company that “supports and commits in activities to improve society”. CSR has become expected from customers to such a great length, that can evidently overtake even the price factor. Hence, building trust and reciprocal relationships with stakeholders should be an integral part of any organisation’s business plan.
Improved influence and business innovation – CSR efforts can also lead to business innovation, thought leadership and improved influence, turning companies into front-runners through conducting their affairs in an ethical and sustainable way. In turn, this is likely to result in a strong brand reputation, generating further investment and funding potential.
Increased employee engagement – Reputation might be an intangible aspect, but it certainly sets a driver when it comes to employee engagement. Like customer engagement, employees are more likely to go the extra mile for employers who conduct business in an ethical and considerate way, demonstrating a higher purpose than profit to the community. A positive public image strengthens employee satisfaction and dedication, enhancing attraction and retainment of top talent.
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