Social responsibility is nothing new, in fact, it has been around for a long time. Do you remember the “Golden Rule” everyone was taught growing up? Treat others as you want to be treated. This is an example of social responsibility. Everyone is expected to follow the golden rule and to play their part in social responsibility. Recently the term “CSR”, or Corporate Social Responsibility, has emerged adding yet another layer.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Simply put, it is the “obligation of an organization – its management, in particular – towards the interests and the welfare of the society that it operates in.” In the business or corporate world, it is much like the golden rule, just another step further. CSR is an ethical structure that embodies the organization to perform and maintain their duties and to do so in a way that creates a balance between themselves and society. We can go even deeper into the meaning of CSR and look at it as a management strategy. Many businesses can use corporate social responsibility to create a great reputation for themselves. While creating this reputation a business can also bring a positive influence on the community around them. CSR is proving to be a very valuable feature that can be utilized to better the business as a whole; which is why many large corporations now have departments devoted to this.
Corporate Social Responsibility Can Improve:
- Company Public Image: Every business should be aware of how important it is for the public to have a positive perception of them, especially their target audiences. You want your audience and the community around you to know that the products and services that you provide are of the greatest quality. You want them to know that they can always count on you for the best customer service. You want them to know you care about the community around them, and that you get involved. You want them to know how much you and your business genuinely care for them and their society. Have you ever noticed how companies who are involved in things that better their community are given better media coverage, or people simply talk about them through different online channels? This is one of the best ways to advertise for your company!
- Company Profit Margins: While practicing good CSR, you are showing your audience that you have ethical practices within your business. Now more than ever people are buying from companies that align with their personal beliefs. Consumers are constantly becoming more aware of global, national, and local issues. If your business is involved within the community people are going to notice, and if you are helping the community, they are going to want to do business with you.
- Company Future Business: Many potential investors also look at a company’s social responsibility before investing with them. Obviously before investing with someone, they would want to make sure that they felt that the company would be worth putting their money on the line. Another way that CSR can improve the future of a business is in the way their employees feel. Typically, if your company practices good social responsibility your employees are going to feel a sense of belonging and feel valued. In turn, when your employees feel this way, they are going to be more motivated to put their best efforts into their work.
Now, how can you use CSR to improve your brand?
First, you need to pick a certain social responsibility program. Don’t make this choice quickly, or without thought. Pick something that is right for your business, and that clearly aligns with your company’s goals and image. You want to make sure that your social responsibility reflects your brand. Even down to your CSR activities and the way your team communicates with the outside community or CSR recipients.
Once you have chosen a cause or advocacy you are going to want to get everyone involved. Plan your initiative and then take it to the rest of your company, you want everyone to collectively be a part of this. When you involve employees and other members of your organization in this process it can enhance morale. Some employees may turn out to be your best ambassadors for your advocacy program and come up with ways to improve your company’s CSR plan. You can even get your customers involved, the more the merrier! Engage them in your activities, and call them to participate!
While you are planning and getting everyone involved don’t forget to utilize your social media. By doing so you can reach even more people, and possibly people outside of your local community. You can introduce your altruistic efforts and share your CSR stories with everyone who follows you. All of these listed above are crucial, but perhaps the most important of all is to simply not boast. Talk about your CSR or your advocacy, but remain subtle. Do not proudly boast about how much you do for others, or just how generous you are. Humbly speak about what you do, but do not cross the line into pumping your chest. You do not want to turn customers or leads away with how much self-praise you give yourself. Do your good works, involve others, and use your social media to show what you are doing, but just do not shove it in everyone’s face too much.
Your social responsibility can set you apart from other companies. Be sincere with everything you put out there, this can truly prove to be the most important aspect. Your brand and what you represent is your promise to the public. Showing that you have a strong CSR can be a very effective way of bringing in positive press for your company. The media is going to pay attention, and more importantly everyone around you is going to pay attention. Walker360 specializes in all forms of business marketing and advertising. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation or receiving a free quote, contact us today!