CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) not to be confused with its other variant (customer sales representative) has become a word associated with large multinationals and their campaigns to help improve the world. It all sounds so distant and unimportant when you are a small startup barely breaking even. But, it is not that far and it is very important for your start-up.
Having a CSR strategy is not about the money you spend it’s about the impact you make on the environment and how the customers view you. It is the information age and the customers are much more aware of their impact on the society. Having a CSR makes them more loyal and trusting to the brand. The more they are able to associate with the brand, the more likely they are to become its champions to the world. That, in itself, is a bigger return than you could ever get with a marketing strategy.
Since CSR effects the company’s bottom line, we should develop an understanding of the triple bottom line known as the three P’s – People, Planets and Profits. Your people will work better and with more loyalty if they see your purpose is noble. The planet is where we all live and operate without it there will be no place to work! Finally, the profits are your customers. Customers are attracted to businesses that they can relate to and that have a positive attitude.
CSR is just the right thing for any business and here are some tips to help you implement it.
You need to find the right CSR project for your company. The thing to keep in mind is the image you want for your brand. Every action a business take, that is associated with its name, has a direct correlation with how the customer perceives the brand. So if you choose one that has no relation to your product/service you will end up confusing the customer as to why you are for that cause.
For example it makes sense for a tobacco company to align itself with protecting the trees. But on the other hand GAP contributing to a CSR activity while neglecting to provide its employees with the basic human rights makes no sense.
While developing the right CSR for your company involve the employees. It will not only boost their belief in the program and provide their valuable insights; it will also make them the champions of the cause.
A recent Aflac survey states that millennials are 66 percent more likely to buy from a company that not just sells a quality product but also gives back to society.
Consumers are now more conscious about their impact on society and are looking for one’s that give back. Hence, using a social media strategy where they are most likely to search will help the message to go across.
Sometimes, partnering with organizations that have the same goal as you and their vision aligns with your, is the best way to get results. There can be two kinds of partnerships; one, you could partner with an NGO that works in the same field as your cause. Two, you could partner with another for-profit organization and pool resources to get faster results. This would also allow for more customers to know of your purpose, as their customers would learn about you and vice versa.
It can seem daunting setting goals and having measuring metrics in place if you have never done this before. But not to worry there are plenty of examples online and if you keep your vision in line then you do not have to worry about.
Try to keep in mind the following when setting up metrics so that the benefit is delivered and you can show the effects to the stakeholders:
Keep in mind that your dedication is directly proportional to the customers perception of the brand. If you are halfhearted in your approach the customer is likely to realize and not take you seriously and will have a negative impact and consequences. It will also lead to lost credulity in the industry, it’s not only customers that keep check on your movements and decisions but also the competition, vendors and all the other players in the ecosystem.