BusinessDay

How Brand Purpose and Corporate Social Responsibility Fit (1)

The way that customers interact with brands today is changing. For companies to engage and connect with today’s ever-more empowered consumer, they need to ensure that their identity and the behaviours they engage in, have the right impact.

In a world where your target audience demands a business that not only delivers exceptional products and services, but also contributes to the community, becomes more transparent, and takes an active role in addressing universal issues, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a mandatory requirement for any modern organisation
In fact, many businesses have found that CSR helps them to identify their brand purpose and create a personality that their customers can connect with, on a deeper level. According to a study by the “Reputation Institute”, 42% of how a person feels about a company is based on their knowledge of that firm’s CSR definition.

In other words, almost half of your company’s reputation comes from the public response to what your business is doing to support the current environment. If that wasn’t enough, the ventures with the best CSR initiatives have stronger stakeholder support. The most “responsible” brands have customers that are more likely to buy their products, act as brand ambassadors, and leave positive reviews about the company.

With all this in mind, we can only come to one conclusion about corporate responsibility: It’s essential to any brand’s image. So, how do you show your customers your responsible side?

What is corporate social responsibility: Your CSR definition

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a business buzzword for decades now. You may also hear it being referred to as ‘corporate citizenship’. Ultimately, CSR encapsulates an organisation’s commitment to bettering social, economic, ethical and environmental aspects of a society. This may be within the organisation’s internal society, the society that the organisation works in or provides services to, or perhaps more widely and better still – across all of these! Someone simplifies this by saying “CSR is about the obligation of companies to do ‘good’ and convey to the wider public that they are a ‘good’ company with ‘good’ values”.

Read also: The Power of Creating a Compelling Brand Vibe

Usually, CSR can be broken down into categories such as:

Environmental efforts: These are the steps you take as a business to reduce your carbon footprint, and limit your negative impact on the world.

Philanthropy: Donating to local charities and supporting local community programmes is an easy way to show your customers that you care about what matters to them.

Ethical labour practices: All businesses are expected to treat their employees ethically and fairly. The more you show you care about your workers, the more your community will respect you.

Volunteering: Even if your brand doesn’t have the financial resources to donate to charity, that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved. Volunteering shows customers that you’re willing to go the extra mile for the right causes.

So, why exactly is finding your CSR definition so important to your company?

In the past, CSR was viewed as a management issue where companies were defensive of their reputation. Now, it is viewed as an effective marketing tool and an opportunity for business growth. The conversation surrounding CSR has grown to be consistent and constant, resulting in deep and substantial interaction across multiple platforms.

This is because today’s customers are sick of buying products and services from companies who are only in it for themselves. We can’t connect emotionally with businesses that devote more attention to making money, than making the world a better place.

Just as we prefer to think of ourselves as “good people”, we prefer to do business with brands that show their altruistic side. Research shows that more customers base their decisions on corporate social responsibility than ever before. In fact, one study found that 90% of shoppers across the globe will switch to buying from a brand that supports a good cause. What’s more, the same number of customers would automatically boycott a brand that engaged in “irresponsible”, or unethical practices.

Corporate responsibility is basically your chance to show your consumers that you care about something bigger than yourself. If you can do this in an authentic, and transparent way, then you can instantly begin to build brand loyalty among your followers, because customers are more likely to buy from a business that shares their ethical views.

Why your brand needs corporate social responsibility

In general, people like to associate themselves with good people. In the business world, customers prefer to be associated with companies known for their morality, high ethical standards, and compelling brand values.

Corporate social responsibility and branding are two things that naturally work together. In fact, the chances are that you’ll create your CSR definition based on a thorough evaluation of your brand positioning, strategy, and identity. For instance, while a clothing company might iron out a plan for corporate responsibility that involves improving work conditions in developing countries, a company that makes paper products might ensure that forests are constantly regenerated and protected.

Last line

While corporate responsibility is a great way to attract positive attention to your company by establishing your brand as something that has a positive impact on the world, the benefits of CSR go further than you might think.