The importance of CSR on brands
Customers’ interaction with brands is changing. Companies need to ensure their identity and operations have the right impact in order to connect with today’s empowered consumer. In a world where your target audience expects not only exceptional product and service delivery, but also transparency and community contribution, CSR has become a mandatory requirement for any organisation.
According to a study conducted by the Reputation Institute, over 40% of a person’s perception of a company is based on their knowledge of that firm’s CSR definition. This means almost half of your company’s reputation comes from the public response. With this in mind, we can certainly conclude that corporate social responsibility is essential to any brand’s image. So, how do you show your responsible side?
The four types of corporate social responsibility
CSR can be broken down into four categories based on sustainable initiatives, such as:
Economic Social Responsibility – A company should maintain strong economic interests, so that it can stay in business. Being profitable and providing value to shareholders is part of a company being socially responsible. Before a business can give back, it must be sustainable. Sustainability includes making a profit for shareholders, paying business taxes and meeting other financial obligations.
Legal Social Responsibility – Consumers are more likely to buy products and services from companies they trust. A part of building that trust is abiding by the laws of each industry.
Ethical Social Responsibility – Ethical social responsibility is about doing the right thing across all business levels. This ranges from paying employees a living wage to ensuring you partner with companies that abide by labour laws. The environmental impact of your business is a crucial part too.
Philanthropic Social Responsibility – This type is about investing your company’s time and resources to contribute to the community in a meaningful way for your brand. This ranges from providing your employees with volunteering opportunities, to donating money, services or products to charitable organisations.
5 simple steps to a successful CSR strategy
1. Build long-term relationships with social causes – Involve your customers or utilise your workforce by engaging with employees in volunteer programs, donations or advocacy support. This will not only boost your reputation positively; it will also contribute to developing a strong internal brand community.
2. Get everybody involved – While CSR is typically something that starts at the head of a business, the implementation requires a collective effort. When all employees in your company know what you’re standing for as a brand, they can focus on achieving the same consistent tone across all messaging and initiatives. This can lead to increased effectiveness of communication with your customers and help your brand to appear more authentic.
3. Be modest in promoting CSR efforts – Serving a greater purpose is not always about public recognition. Insincerity and over-promotion of CSR efforts can lead to public scrutiny and disbelief. Discretion is key in gaining stakeholder goodwill and third-party promotion.
4. Choose social initiatives based on the right fit with your business – People perceive actions as less self-serving when company contributions are directly relevant to the organisation’s purpose than simply donating to generic causes. Hence, ensuring that your initiatives tie-up appropriately with the company’s operations, is essential.
5. Be Transparent & go the extra mile – Corporations can show economic social responsibility by being transparent with all stakeholders regarding the company’s financial status. Go beyond meeting the minimum environmental requirements and look at how you can exceed those requirements. This will give consumers a good impression of your brand.
CSR shows that your company is about more than just numbers, caring about your impact on the society. This makes a positive impression on consumers that want to feel good about their purchases. By trying to be socially responsible, you can ensure that your company leaves a lasting, positive impact.
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