The Benefits Of A Great CSR Strategy And How To Practise What You Preach
With the emphasis on social, economic and environmental problems in our society making headlines regularly, it is becoming necessary and trendy for companies to have some kind of corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy to appeal to their target audience.
Consumers have made it very clear that they are more interested in doing business with companies that have sustainable business practices. In fact, 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from socially responsible companies. But it is important to remember that CSR is more than just a PR strategy, you need to live up to your claims in order to gain your customer’s trust and loyalty in the long-term.
‘’According to one 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.’’
What is CSR?
Corporate social responsibility refers to the steps your business takes to adhere to social, economic and environmental standards. This includes supporting local, national and global causes, having special practices in place to care for employees and taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint.
So, what are the benefits of a great CSR strategy?
1. Improve Public Image
Being socially responsible is a fantastic way to build your brand and state your position in the industry. Online publishers are likely to write positive stories about your brand when you do a good deed. As a result of this, Google will have significantly more positive content surrounding your business, helping to set you apart from competitors and act as a buffer between your brand and potential scandal/ upset in the industry. With good marketing practices in place, your customers are likely to see these positive reviews and pick your brand over others.
2. Increase Employee Satisfaction and Attract Top Talent
Your employees are key to a thriving company. It’s important that you support them and reward their achievements (and that doesn’t always have to be with money). Having strong CSR values is also an excellent way to attract top talent to come and work for your company and take it to the next level. Millennials in particular seem particularly keen to work for socially responsible companies, with 70% saying they are more likely to choose to work for a company with a strong environmental agenda, and nearly 40% saying they’ve chosen a job in the past because the company performed better on sustainability.
3. Improve Innovation and Creativity
CSR initiatives encourage your employees to think of new things and be creative in their work. Through improved employee satisfaction and social evolvement, employees may feel empowered to come up with new ideas about products, internal processes and problem-solving-solutions to develop new and better ways to do their jobs and grow the company.
4. Increase Brand Affinity
People like to connect themselves to brands that do-good things, because it makes them feel good as a person. Yes, it really is that simple. However, the important thing to remember is that you can lose out on brand affinity, good public image and employee satisfaction if your stakeholders feel as though you’re only engaging in CSR efforts to improve sales.
How to implement a successful CSR strategy…
1. Look at what other brands are doing
Spend some time comparing other brand’s CSR strategies; how are they working for them? What campaigns have been successful and are there any strategies you want to avoid? Once you have a list of ideas, sit down with your employees and have a creative meeting to work out how you can transfer these CSR initiatives into your business. Think of charities you want to support and how they can relate to your business and most importantly think of ways you can use your brands status to actually make a difference.
2. Create a company culture
Adjust your company’s values and develop a vision or mission statement that sums up why you’re in business and how you plan to give back. You can then start to develop a culture based around these values and create an employee hand book to ensure you are all on the same page.
3. Get employees involved
The implementation of CSR requires a collective effort, everyone needs to be focused on achieving an end-goal, not just the business director. When you all have the same focus, you will be able to create the same consistent tone in all your brand content and initiatives. Resulting in consistent communication with customers and an authentic, reliable brand image.
4. Get Social!
CSR is a social concept, people want to talk about it and do their bit to make a difference so what better way to share your social responsibility efforts than by using social media? The more you shout about the work you are doing, the more you can get the community involved and get your brand noticed.
While CSR is a concept that has been around for a while, there are still many businesses that are not involved in CSR and have no plans to implement it into their marketing and branding strategies. Now is the time to get one step ahead of the competition, claim your place in the industry and start giving back! If you need help implementing a marketing strategy to highlight your CSR efforts, contact us today and we will be happy to assist.
This month TWI are supporting our graphic designer partner Guy Clubb on ‘The Colong Ride Home’ in aid of Bowel Cancer UK as well as volunteering at the Colchester Half Marathon to raise awareness for MS UK. If you would like to make a donation, please visit Guy’s Just Giving Page and the MS UK website.