The old adage “do well by doing good” has perhaps never been as possible as it is today.
Companies that want to survive must be responsive to customer demands. In today’s climate, that means it’s more important than ever before for brands to invest in a robust corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.
Today’s consumers have growing expectations for companies to act responsibly—and they are rewarding companies whose services and products are both good for them and good for society. They also have a better understanding about their own ability to make a positive impact through their purchase behavior.
The Millennial generation in particular—the fastest-growing force in the marketplace and expected to control $24 trillion dollars of wealth by 2020—is highly motivated to associate with companies that are aligned with their values and authentically “walk the talk” of their higher purpose. According to Horizon Media’s Finger on the Pulse study, more than eight in ten Millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship.
if companies take these do-good values and bake them into their corporate identities, a good CSR program can help meet consumers’ higher standards, build trust and brand loyalty, raise awareness, engage and retain customers, and strengthen reputation.
Here are some best practices for brands that want to bring their CSR efforts to life:
Integrate Sustainability Into Your Brand
CSR needs to be a part of your company’s DNA. Showcase your CSR efforts on your website and across all content creation.
Set Goals and Measure Success
It iscritical to develop and maintain sustainability goals and tie them to overarching corporate goals. It is also critical to set performance objectives that can be audited and shared.
Use Authentic Storytelling to Show What You Are Doing to Make the World a Better Place
Companies that appear to be only paying lip service to CSR and not deemed to be fully transparent will be called out.
Allow Consumers to Initiate a Two-Way, Open Dialogue With Your Brand
Activate a progressive social media program to convey good will and reach the right social stakeholders.
Sponsor Local Events to Engage With the Community
Identify and support local CSR efforts to engage employees, customers and partners around the world.
Identify and Establish Awards and Recognition Programs
Programs honoring employees or customers making a difference can help shine a spotlight on a company’s CSR program while incentivizing others to join the effort.
Bolster Credibility With Third-Party Auditing
Develop a CSR report with sustainable metrics of your initiatives, to be audited by a third party to show how your CSR program is making a difference to the world and to your customers.
By kickstarting a robust CSR program, companies can demonstrate an authentic purpose, making consumers feel more connected to their products and brands.