Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been burning on my mind for a while now. I've been around friends and other SME owners, Freelancers & self-employed people and had this discussion with pretty much everyone. What is CSR? And is it beneficial for business to have some CSR incorporated into a business? I'd like to talk about what CSR is and how it could be beneficial to a business. All benefits stated in here are applicable to any business, regardless of size or industry.
What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate Social Responsibility (also known as Corporate Citizenship) is defined by an article in Investopedia as "a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable". There are so many different aspects to CSR, including; Environmental, Communal, Ethical, Diversity and cultural. A lot of businesses put this at the heart of their business model and others add this as an extra arm to their business. There are many reasons why businesses choose to take action on CSR. So, here are 5 reasons as to why CSR is beneficial to businesses both large and small...
1. Brand Definition
When it comes to your brand, you want to stand out. To stand out you need to be well defined as a brand. Implementing CSR as part of your brand will help people understand who you are, what you're about and why you do what you do. Not only does it help define what consumers see about you, it also shapes how you do business and helps give your business a real direction and aims to work towards.
2. Increased Brand Noise & PR
Another reason that CSR is good for your brand, is the noise generated due to your businesses practices. Many major companies are beginning to tackle various social and ethical issues and more often that not it will create some controversy. Not everyone will agree with your stance on issues but many see it as an opportunity to start the conversation around the issues they feel passionately about.
Example: Gillette's 'The Best Men Can Be' ad campaign. While companies as large as Gillette will almost always have people who are unhappy and happy with whatever they do, the ad did receive a lot of negative backlash. Some men's rights groups even called for a boycott but as far as brand noise, going off numbers: Gillette's social media reach and brand conversation went up by over 11,000%.
3. Customer Reputation & Loyalty
We're in an age where we are much more socially aware. It seems like as a whole, we are taking a lot more consideration into what we are buying and who we are buying off. In fact, according to a study by Cone Communications in 2017: '87% of people will purchase a product [or service] because a company advocated for an issue they cared about' and '76% will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs'.
Customer loyalty is massive for any business. If a customer or client believes in what you do, then they're more likely to not only spend with you in the first place, but also return to you again. They're also much more likely to tell their friends, family and even tell social media about your company and what you do, because they feel they're contributing to causes they feel passionately about.
4. Staff Recruitment & Loyalty
While CSR is a massive player in the way customers are spending their money, it's also a huge part of an employee’s decision to work for a company. According to another study by Cone Communications in 2016: '83% of young people would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues' and '64% won't take a job from a company that doesn't have strong CSR practices'.
It's been said many times before but if your employees are happy, then your customers will be too. If you believe in what you do and feel like you're contributing to society then you are more likely to take pride in your work, be happier and enjoy going to work every day. Plus, when your customers and your employees are on the same page and share the same values then surely that can only mean great things.
5. Community Impact
The most important part - actually having an impact. It's such a beautiful and rewarding feeling. If you make community impact the driving force behind your CSR practices then you're already on to a winner. Businesses drive their CSR because they believe in the change and see it as an important part of what they do. Whether it's starting conversations, going into their local communities or making changes to their products, they see room for change and want to be part of that change.
I personally believe that CSR applies to all businesses, large or small in whatever industry. Whether we're looking to reduce our carbon footprint or helping those that need it, we can all do something to make a better impact on our environment and/or in our communities. If you would like to see how Buzzin' Sounds Recording Studio is becoming Socially Responsible you can read about it here.
I'd love to hear what you think about CSR. If your company is already taking measures towards being Socially Responsible or are looking to become Socially Responsible then let me know what you do or are planning to do. E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, I placed a post on LinkedIn regarding CSR a few days before writing this blog. It brought so many interesting opinions and thoughts. I'm leaving you with my favourite comment of the post. It sums up why CSR is so important perfectly:
"It’s responsibility towards the people and the planet that will change the world."- Hannah Cox of Betternotstop.