Shoppers have seemingly limitless choices nowadays. If businesses want to stand out from the competition, they have to make their brands as appealing as possible. One approach to enhancing brand reputation is through corporate social responsibility. Below, we’ll briefly go over what corporate social responsibility means and how it can benefit businesses big and small.
What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)? When considered at the organizational level, CSR refers to strategic initiatives designed to positively contribute to societal well-being through corporate action and engagement. These measures could involve various forms of advocacy, environmental protection, ethical labor practices, charity work and similar endeavors meant to positively impact the world. Another aspect is acknowledging the effect the business has on the world and recognizing the importance of becoming a better corporate citizen because of it.
The goal is to enhance the brand’s reputation by reflecting its accountability as well as its commitment to making meaningful contributions. To reach this goal, social responsibility initiatives must be coherently aligned and integrated into the organization’s business model. Additionally, CSR implementation ought to surpass compliancy with regulatory requirements by engaging in pursuits transcending the law and specific interests of the firm.
As CSR has grown rapidly over recent years, it now plays a crucial role in brand perception and overall attractiveness, not just to customers, but to employees and investors. In fact, 88% of people want to know about a company’s CSR efforts, and what they learn can drastically influence purchasing decisions. Put simply, today’s consumers expect more from a business than just products and services. They expect the brand to stand for something and “put its money where its mouth is” as well.
It is incredibly important for organizations to understand the detriments of simply being performative. Putting on an act to deceive customers could damage brand reputation or even turn consumers against it. Authenticity and carrying out genuine efforts are essential components in reaping the benefits of CSR.
What are some of these benefits? A leading potential return is the ability to increase customer retention and loyalty. Successfully gaining a customer’s trust in the business or product can be challenging. With CSR, a company can take steps to align the business model and values with the target customer’s social views. Customers may feel they are more proactive in supporting these views by purchasing with that company.
Often, this leads to another key benefit: increasing brand awareness. When done well, CSR initiatives could boost brand awareness and affinity through press coverage and organic word-of-mouth. Whether through social media or otherwise, 80% of surveyed consumers say they would tell family and friends about a company’s CSR efforts. Having such brand advocates can expand the brand’s reach to new customers, drive sales and ultimately boost the bottom line.
For more information on CSR and how it can influence positive purchasing power, please see the accompanying resource created by creators of an employee volunteer program.