The German Composer Carl Orff famously said “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I might remember. Involve me and I understand.”
These are powerful words when engaging with stakeholders and reinforces how people cognitively learn when they interact with activities.
When developing a CSR strategy, businesses should consider their customers when choosing a cause or charity to support.
Customers are the life blood of business so when you can integrate your customers, products, services and values of your brand through your CSR activities you can potentially turn customers into fans through an emotive connection.
In this blog we explore our top four ways in which your CSR activities can be used to engage with your customers, encouraging them to become a part of the cause or charity itself.
Create the conversation
Continue the conversation
Let’s find out the detail:
1. Create the conversation
When thinking of how to engage with supporters through a CSR campaign you could consider including them in its development.
Utilising digital and real-world surveys, focus groups and one-to-one meetings, you can take sample sets of your customers and find out directly what are important CSR issues to them.
Once you understand what they consider important you can then work on how this cause or issue can best be supported by your company.
From this you will design the activities around the cause which, if you keep the customers involved in this process, you will be able to gain complete buy-in from them.
When delivered properly this can be a hugely powerful approach to engagement as it involves your brand being the vehicle for them to do good in your community with an issue important to them.
2. Can they give?
Whether you do or don’t involve the customers in the development of your cause there are a number of ways they can still play their part and feel like they are supporting the cause.
WAIT! Before you ask for customer assistance it is important you promote a narrative around your cause so they understand why it is important for them to get involved and offer the support they can.
Customers that are engaged with a cause will look to offer help when asked. Sports clubs in the UK will often turn towards supporters when supporting community activities and causes such as homeless shelters.
Clothes drives are common when it comes to winter time where sports organisations will reach out to supporters to ask them for donations of old clothing and blankets for those in need.
Money is another important resource that is often requested, if the narrative has been positioned important enough in the eye of the customer the ywill readily part with what they feel is appropriate.
Donations can be incentivised also by offering a percentage of income to a cause from your business if customers buy your services (for example buy X and we’ll donate 10% to Y charity). Here it is a win-win for the customer as they will receive your services and at the same time support a worthy cause.
3. Can they take part?
Reaching out to customers and requesting them to physically take part in the activation of a campaign can be a powerful way for getting customer engagement.
If you work in the B2B industry, then encouraging customers’ businesses including their staff and communication platforms can help tie them to your brand and campaign.
Make sure that you take the pain away and make it as easy as possible for them to play a part in your programme and let them know how they will benefit from the activities that will be undertaken.
This can be an incredibly powerful way for you to help customers remain engaged, especially if they have been involved in the development of the programme from its inception and it’s important to them.
4. Continue the conversation
Finally, a further powerful and simple way to encourage customers to engage is to encourage them to share information about your cause via social media and through their networks.
Social media offers cause related activities an unprecedented way to reach out to audiences through people and businesses sharing and promoting developed content.
If the CSR campaign has been approached strategically there will be a natural audience of interested communities which the cause will resonate with.
You want to encourage this audience to get involved by sharing content because they are most likely to have likeminded people within their own networks which will help create the butterfly effect and potentially lead to your promotion trending on social platforms.
Engagement with customers through your Corporate Socially Responsibile campaigns, activities and events can be a real differentiator between you and your competitors.
Often CSR will impact on stakeholders emotionally making it a really powerful strategic thrust for your business, but it is important you take the time to understand which causes resonate with your customers whilst at the same time fit snugly with your business' direction.