In discussing how brand purpose and corporate social responsibility intersect to deliver premium benefits to a brand, it is important to understand why your brand needs corporate social responsibility as an integral part of any branding process.
1. Strengthens your brand
Presenting yourself as “socially responsible” is a fantastic way to give yourself authority in your industry, and build a stronger platform for your brand. People prefer to engage with companies that have strong values, and the right CSR strategy could even make your story more compelling so that you stand out ahead of your competitors.
2. Attracts and retains top talent
People are key to any thriving company, that’s why it’s important to attract and retain the right talent for your organisation. It may surprise you that some people are willing to sacrifice a part of their annual salary just to work for a more socially responsible company. In other words, the people with the best skills simply want to feel as though they’re making a difference in the world. That’s particularly true for millennials.
3. Increases brand affinity
People like to connect themselves to companies that do good things because it makes them feel as though they’re better people overall. A survey conducted by Nielsen found that 50% of customers around the world would pay more for services and goods from responsible companies.
However, you can lose out on brand affinity if your customers feel as though you’re only engaging in CSR efforts to improve sales. This simply means that you’ll need to make sure that the programmes you implement are as authentic as possible.
4. Engages employees
As mentioned above, employees today don’t just want to work for a business that pays the bills, they want to feel as though they’re having a real impact on the world around them. When you get your staff involved with important social programmes, they’ll naturally feel more engaged at work.
5. Differentiates your brand
Brand is all about finding a way to separate your company from all the similar businesses out there that offer competing products and services. By engaging in a corporate social responsibility strategy, you show your customers that you’re not just another copy-paste business producing the same old solutions. A company with a CSR definition stands for something bigger than itself, and because of this, it stands out too.
Steps for an effective CSR strategy
So, you know why a CSR plan matters to your business, now all you need to do is figure out how you can implement corporate social responsibility into your company strategy. This means crafting and following a campaign that walks the line between benefiting your community and benefitting your business at the same time.
Here are a few steps that might be able to help:
1. Choose the right cause
First things first, you can’t just support every charity and cause that comes your way. Instead, you need to select a program that’s right for your business, and aligned with your company vision.
Look for ways to stand up for things that have a logical tie to your organisation.
2. Get everybody involved
While corporate responsibility is typically something that starts at the head of a business, with management and executive insight, the implementation of any CSR requires a collective brand effort. Every part of your company needs to be involved and focused on achieving an end-goal
3. Make the most of social media
CSR is an inherently social concept – in fact, the word “social” is right there in the name. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re making the most of social media when you’re sharing your social responsibility efforts with the world. Today’s social media platforms have allowed businesses to achieve a wider reach than ever before.
The key to success with social media is making sure that you don’t just “boast” about what you’re doing for the environment. People want to see that your efforts are coming from a place of authenticity and genuine interest. If you look like you’re taking part in corporate responsibility measures just to get more customers, you’re going to cause serious damage to your reputation.
4. Make corporate responsibility part of your brand identity
As mentioned above, CSR programs work best when they look and feel authentic. The last thing you want is to imply that you stand for something just because it seems to matter to your customers or shareholders. While you need to be careful to select a cause that your community can get behind, you also need to build a social responsibility programme that reflects your brand identity, and unique selling point (USP).
Don’t just tack corporate responsibility onto the end of your brand messaging, make it an inherent part of how you function as a company. For instance, if you’re a technology company that claims to protect the environment, make sure that there’s a page on your website outlining exactly what you do to protect the earth. When you launch a new product, tell people what steps you’ve taken to stick to your CSR initiative, while delivering exceptional value.
Ultimately, the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re using corporate social responsibility to build and improve your brand is that sincerity is key. There needs to be truth in every claim you make, and everything you do. Don’t just say you care about something, show your customers that you’re truly devoted to your cause.