Brands that support a cause — and are vocal about it — are seen in a more positive light, especially when it comes to the younger generations. You don’t have to create an official corporate social responsibility program (CSR). Even an informal, company-wide cause can bring many benefits. When done right, everyone wins—including your employees and your consumers. Don’t have a cause yet? Check out this helpful guide to get you on the right track.
- 87% of consumers make a purchase based on a company’s advocacy
- 86% of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a company with shared values
*Sources: 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study, LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Culture Report
Benefits of a CSR Program
Besides the obvious benefit to your community, there are other incentives for implementing a CSR program.
- Positive brand perception
- Increased brand awareness
- Stronger brand loyalty
- Raise employee morale
- Attract new talent
Popular Causes and Real-World Examples
Popular CSR programs include the following:
- Reducing an organization’s carbon footprint
- Supporting fair trade
- Charitable giving or fundraising (especially a cause close to your staff or organization)
- Company volunteering
Here are two of our favorite examples of businesses doing good:
- Lego – In 2018, the Danish toy company started using plant-based plastic polyethylene, made from sugar cane, to make LEGO trees. Also, its factory in Denmark uses wind energy and installed 40,000 solar panels to harness solar energy.
- Ben & Jerry’s – With a history of standing up for what’s right in the food industry, the ice cream maker continues to advocate for their farmers, seeking out fair trade agreements and putting quality over profits in the dairy industry.
Regardless of the cause your organization supports, here are some important best practices to keep in mind:
- Let Staff & Employees Weigh In – You’ll learn more about your employees and their values, and your team will feel valued and heard. This is equally important if your brand doesn’t current support a cause. Understanding what’s important to your employees can help you decide.
- Set Measurable Goals & Track Results – This could mean reducing employee turnover; improving recruitment; improving brand perception, which can be measured through perceptual audits; reducing waste or operational costs; improving employee morale, etc. Just make sure it’s something that can be measured and tracked back to your CSR program.
- Be Genuine – Make sure the cause aligns with your organization’s mission and values and is supported by your organization’s actions in other areas.
- Find the Right Partner(s) – Align with organizations that share your values as well as your target audience and demographics, which will help maximize cross-promotion opportunities.
- Promote Your Efforts – A strong public relations plan, perhaps more than other marketing channels, can provide a transparent channel for promoting your organization’s efforts. Many clients turn to us to promote their CSR programs in “news readers can use” stories we distribute and track to thousands of online and print media outlets across the country.
- Be genuine – Don’t set up a CSR program or claim to support a cause just to get more publicity. When you’ve made the decision for which program you’d like to support, give 110 percent. Involve the entire company, and make it known that the cause is a priority.
Once you have a CSR program in place, find ways to get your entire team involved. Then, make your support known to your customers. Want to get the word out even more? Contact us today to learn how we can put your brand’s cause in the spotlight.