Now that we’re all back in the office staring sleepily into our coffee-cups this morning and recalling the weekend as a distant, hazy memory, I want to touch briefly upon, and inspire you with the idea of modern Corporate Social Responsibility and how it can not only make your life, and the lives of your employees better, but also your marketing strategy. It’s a win-win situation, so long as it is genuine. If you’re just here to seek quick wins- get real or go home.
Let’s look at the what, why, who and how and try to keep this in a nutshell before you tend to that inbox.
Corporate Social Responsibility is the act of participating in initiatives that benefit society. Think: charity fundraising, giving back to communities you take from; being conscious and responsible for the impact of your trade, supporting the environment, or practising ethical labour trades and the like.
Let’s hit up the bullet points. On the inside of your organisation, it is:
- A way of extending your brand values and stories
- A great way to engage and motivate your staff
- Excellent for building community and PR around your brand
- It helps to attract or recruit people with like-minded values
When it comes to the outside, research reveals a growing trend in social consciousness and social responsibility.
New generation consumers are looking for the bigger picture and stories to know why they should choose you over a competitor. The desire for brand transparency and clear purpose is very rapidly becoming an expectation. You can read more about consumer behaviour in this great report on your lunch break but basically what I’m saying is that it helps foster loyal customers, leading to something that all corporations want to drive: sales.
Give me an example:
Yum Foods, experts in food and drink production, feed hungry consumers across the world. They also partake in community engagement initiatives, run by their staff across the USA, and organise food banks that abate the hunger felt by those in poverty.
They feed the rich, and they also feed the poor.
Or, take Toms Shoes, for example. Their dedication to Corporate Social Responsibility is phenomenal and is based on the very simple premise of ‘one for one’. You buy a pair of shoes, they give a pair of shoes to a child in need.
Everyone. You, your staff, the community, the country, the world. For more information, please refer to ‘why’.
Well, I can’t really tell you exactly what you should do (unless you want to go for coffee and then I can offer suggestions) but look at your company mission statement and values, and think about what might be a natural move – like a travel company might seek to offset its carbon footprint, or a couture dressmaker’s might campaign for better working conditions that contribute to the demise of sweatshops.
If not, let your people do the deciding. At 4Ps, we’re all given two-days a year to support a cause we care about, which is fantastic. We’re not saying we’re perfect, and we understand there are often difficulties co-ordinating efforts, which can often fall short, or end up being diluted. We do some great fundraising, but there is always more we can do to firmly position us as the ‘good human beings’ we strive to be.
I’ve been working closely with my clients to find their corporate social story and, from a marketing and search perspective, we’ve carefully aligned our efforts to strategically blend and enhance the brand, from partnerships with key influencers, to supporting our cause on social media and distributing content across marketing channels, and even adding new features to the checkout to encourage donation or further reading.
These are just a handful of things we are doing to help our clients identify and translate their values to improve their Corporate Social Responsibility and tell great stories to enrich more engaging strategies. Whether you’re a full blown social enterprise, a multi-national corporation, or a start-up in a cellar somewhere, it’s what you believe in that truly counts.
4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how PR and content are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in search engine algorithms and advertising legislation, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and technology across all inbound channels.