The growing awareness and sense of social responsibility among consumers have compelled companies to incorporate social activities into their marketing mix. The active eagerness for environmental and social welfare has become one of the aims of companies now seen as corporate citizens. In the modern corporate paradigm, businesses cannot only rely on monetary gains but need to back them up with social responsibility. Such initiatives show the company’s involvement and concern for societal issues that affect the business and the surrounding communities, the environment, and the planet.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility and Why is it Important in Advertising?
“Social Responsibility,” in layman’s terms, means a company’s obligation to invest in long-term goals that benefit the planet. CSR marketing focuses on attracting customers who wish to make a positive difference through their buying decisions. Many companies have adopted socially responsible advertising strategies to help their communities through beneficial products, services, and practices. Although being socially responsible is not a requirement, various companies in different industries can greatly benefit from it in the following ways:
Attract and Retain Employees
One of the most important reasons people apply to different companies is their CSR strategy. Being socially responsible shows how much a company cares for its employees and other stakeholders. A business that invests in improving the planet comes off as more positive, considerate, and morally grounded. This encourages new candidates to apply and existing employees to stay.
Improve Brand Reputation
The competition in the business world is intense as companies look for any chance to get ahead of their competitors. However, organizations that take social responsibility can significantly differentiate themselves and win over customers. Your company’s efforts in raising awareness for important causes can put your company in a favorable light.
Other companies sometimes also support businesses that practice corporate social responsibility because that reflects positively on their brand reputation. This is how your organization can come in the good books of these companies that might see you as a potential supplier or business partner. Remember that some customers do not simply prefer to deal with responsible businesses but insist on it.
How CSR Marketing Works?
Using recyclable packaging or eco-friendly products, doing informative campaigns that spread awareness about serious global issues, and donating part of company profits to charitable organizations are just some ways companies can do CSR marketing.
Corporate responsibility is closely linked with social responsibility. For instance, shareholders, executives, and administrators must first practice ethical behavior before advertising it for economic benefits. Simply hopping on the bandwagon for appearances is called greenwashing, which can show customers that your organization is not really dedicated to social responsibility. This can ultimately end up tarnishing the brand’s image in the long run, as consumers can usually see through slogans, catchphrases, gimmicks, or insincere efforts.
How to Incorporate CSR In Marketing?
Align Core Company Teams with CSR Goals
Your marketing team should collaborate with HR to effectively market your company’s efforts towards corporate social responsibility. These core teams can combine their efforts to share some of the best work in advancing diversity, inclusion, and equality that your company might be partaking in. With the help of social media, short videos, and blog posts, these efforts can be advertised.
The HR will also have input on highlighting employee work, any important positions within the business, and other key business updates. Employee wellness and appreciation can be fundamental to CSR – it shows you care about the greater good of society. Your teams and employees should be your biggest representatives. Giving them due credit, sharing worker-generated content, and highlighting lucrative company events will make the company more desirable to both your workers and outsiders.
Find Your Brand’s Voice
Speaking out about your goals and plans for improving society can instantly make your company more recognizable. Before you talk, make sure you first listen to what your customers have to say and then try to connect with them through the right sources and platforms. Before drafting your public message, consider their needs. It has become especially difficult to listen to what your audience has to say due to the noise of the online world. So, demonstrate empathy through your tone and actions when interacting with your customers, as this helps ensure their loyalty towards your brand.
Involve Your Audience in the Process
Thanks to our smartphones, it is easy to gather videos and photos on the spot. Use these features to connect with your audience and let them get involved in the process. Make it easy to share and view your quotes, discussions, and interactions by giving the appropriate links. Repurpose your content and post it on various social media platforms for maximum visibility. Twitter is especially a great platform to help spread your message, while YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram also offer valuable interaction. Numbers don’t lie, so gather and utilize the given data to your benefit and formulate impact reports that you can share online for your audience to see.
Blogging is another effective way to paint a digital picture in the audience’s mind. People feel a lot closer to the brand when they feel involved and part of the process. Keep your audience aware of the CSR journey throughout, and leave room for them to add their comments. An interactive community tends to be more satisfied and loyal since getting feedback, finding their needs, and explaining your side of the story is easier.
Corporate social responsibility is slowly but rapidly gaining ground as companies shift towards contributing to society and the environment. Your company’s CSR marketing should align with its mission and be carried out with the help of all the stakeholders involved. It is important to keep it authentic and not indulge in greenwashing since that has the potential to backfire with hazardous results.