Building a great brand goes beyond just promoting products and services – it is more about establishing a good reputation and an identity for people will look up to. To achieve this, there is one thing that you need to practice while running your company: corporate social responsibility.

Today, modern consumers are becoming more conscious about their buying behavior and how it affects the planet and society. This may be the reason why more and more people demand businesses to not only provide high-quality products and topnotch services but also make a significant contribution to their community.

Aside from coming up with a catchy tagline and a memorable logo and brand name, you also need to come up with programs that help the world see you in a better light. Consumers seek out companies who are more transparent and actively participate in humanitarian causes. This makes corporate social responsibility – CSR, for short – an integral part of a company’s branding efforts.

This article explains what corporate social responsibility is and the different ways it can affect branding.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Different business executives have various definitions of the term “corporate social responsibility.” Some will give you a spiel about doing wonderful things for the betterment of society, while others will question whether it has a significant return on investment.

But one of the common definitions you’ll hear is this: Corporate social responsibility is a concept where companies integrate concerns about the environment and society into their business operations and interactions with stakeholders.

CSR, in essence, refers to the different efforts an organization makes to adhere to ethical standards in the community. This varies depending on the scope of the company, ranging from local concerns to global causes. In short, it’s all about showing how selfless a business can be.

Among the common examples of CSR efforts are:

Philanthropy

Philanthropic efforts include donating to charity groups, working with local community programs, and efforts to improve other people’s way of life. It shows how a business cares for individuals beyond their market.

Concern for the Environment

Improving the state of the environment is another focus of most CSR efforts. The steps a company can take under this category should revolve around reducing carbon footprint, limiting the use of natural resources, and reducing how business operations can negatively impact the environment.

Volunteerism

Beyond financial resources, a company can also partake in CSR efforts by utilizing human resources to help with various causes. Volunteering in various humanitarian acts and other steps to improve people’s wellbeing can serve as an effective way to show that your company cares.

Ethical Labor Practices

Beyond making donations, volunteerism, and caring for the environment, a company can also show its corporate social responsibility by ensuring that all of its employees are given just and fair treatment. This can include:

  • Adhering to labor and working condition standards
  • Ensuring social equity and gender equality
  • Unhindered community relations
  • Practicing good governance and anti-corruption measures

The more people see how you care for your employees, the more they are likely to respect your company.

5 Ways CSR Can Affect Your Brand

In essence, CSR programs aim to make the world a better place. This explains why most efforts are focused on things that can benefit society. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that CSR can’t have any positive impact on your company.

The truth is, corporate social responsibility efforts that are developed strategically and implemented correctly can help you create and maintain a positive image for your brand. You just need to be prepared to stay on it for the long-run.

Unconvinced that CSR has a positive effect on your brand? Here are five points that you need to think about:

 1. CSR strengthens your brand

Making sure that your company is socially responsible also allows you to build authority for your brand. It serves as a solid platform for brand establishment by leveraging the fact that modern consumers now prefer companies with strong values. In fact, CSR can even make your story more compelling and help make your firm stand out from the rest.

 2. CSR clears your path to secure the best talent

Although ethical labor practices may comprise only a portion of your efforts to become socially responsible, CSR can also ensure that you get the best people on-board.

You see, researchers from Stanford University discovered that many MBA graduates are willing to trade a big salary just to be able to work for a socially responsible company. This is particularly true for workers belonging to the millennial generation.

The most talented and skilled people want to make a difference in the world, which is why they prefer to work for companies that can help make that happen.

 3. CSR engages your employees

Still on the topic of employees, having a good CSR program for your brand also helps you engage all the members of your staff. As mentioned earlier, professionals today are no longer just after the salary – they also want to feel like they’re contributing to the betterment of society.

When you ensure that your employees get to join social programs, they tend to be a bit more engaged, focused, efficient, and productive at work. Ultimately, this results in plenty of advantages, not only for your brand but for your entire company.

 4. CSR enhances brand affinity

Another important benefit of implementing CSR efforts is enhanced brand affinity. People like to connect themselves with firms that perform noble deeds as it also helps them feel good about themselves.

In fact, Nielsen polls revealed that about 50 percent of consumers worldwide would pay more for products and services that are made by socially responsible companies. This can range from makeup manufacturers that don’t test on animals, producers of transportation alternatives that use renewable energy, and many others.

Still, it is worth noting that if you fail to establish brand affinity, your customers will end up feeling as though you’re only “acting” like you’re socially responsible for boosting your sales. This means that you have to be sincere and implement programs that are authentic and slated for the long-run.

 5. CSR helps distinguish your brand from the competition

Ask any seasoned brand consulting agency, and they’ll tell you that establishing a solid brand is all about looking for ways to differentiate your firm from others with similar offerings in the market.

With the help of a CSR strategy, you can show your target audience how different you are from businesses that recycle solutions from other companies. Remember that a solid and genuine CSR strategy can help your company show that your stance is bigger than the business itself, which can help you outshine your competitors.

Be Socially Responsible

Companies are encouraged to be socially responsible not only to show good faith but also to assure consumers that they’re making an ethical choice by choosing their brand.

Consider the points highlighted in this article when planning your CSR strategy, and watch how your business grows with every humanitarian effort you exert.

AUTHOR BIO

Hasan Fadlallah is a Serial Entrepreneur – Founder & CEO of Brand Lounge, the region’s leading and award-winning branding consultancy, whose role is to help organizations align their business behind an idea that will deliver success time and again. Equipped with over 20 years of professional consulting experience, today he advises businesses throughout the Gulf and Africa on brand development and in 2014 was recognized by the World Brand Congress who awarded him the prestigious Brand Leadership award in Brand Excellence.