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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is when a business operates in an ethical and sustainable way to help have a positive impact on environmental and social issues.
Ethical practices and implementing an effective CSR strategy is consistently considered vital to the success of a modern-day business in an everchanging society. This article explains why having a strong CSR strategy can prove to be your Unique Selling Point as a business and how you can reap the rewards.
Exposure of companies’ malpractices are now few and far between as customers and consumers alike are actively seeking businesses that operate ethically. The 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study showed 78% of people want companies to address important social issues whilst 76% will refuse to support a company’s services if it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs. These statistics show, from a business’ perspective, you not only target profits but show it may be advantageous to support a CSR activity, as failing to modernise can have a negative impact on your business’ growth.
Implementing an effective Corporate Social Responsibility programme can produce many benefits for your business and here are our top four reasons why:
1) Talent Attraction / Retention
Business that overtly engage in Corporate Social Responsibility activities are viewed by many, as a more attractive organisation than one that does not. A culture of strong Corporate Social Responsibility values can be a strong differentiator for your business as you try to attract the next batch of talent who can take your business to the next level.
Having a team of employees who live and breathe the values your company are engaged with will also see an increase in productivity. A happier, passionate workforce will feel more motivated to go the Xtra mile when they can see their employers striving to make a difference for the greater good.
2) Brand Recognition
If nobody knows about the positive CSR work you are doing, then you will not reap the rewards further down the line. Forming relationships with media outlets helps get your name out in the open, stealing a march on your competitors and showing the world (or at least your target market) that your business cares about what they care about.
You often find business’ CSR strategy involves a partnership with a charity in some form, or a not-for-profit organisation. High profile examples over recent years include Tesco’s link-up with Fareshare UK to avoid food being thrown away and instead be distributed to those who need it the most. Being seen to be working alongside charities and be proactive in their approach to eradicate food waste, the PR benefit for the retailer is huge.
‘Embedding purpose into your business will help it to stand out and align it with customers who have the same values’ – Richard Branson, 2017
3) Business Reputation
Corporate social investment can help you build a reputation as a responsible, socially conscious business and those with responsible and transparent Corporate Social Responsibilities are often favoured by customers and consumers alike. This helps build a more stable base financially for your business.
By cleaning up your business’ image and broadcasting it to the outside world helps attract new relationships from far and wide as these companies or employees, seeking their next move, want to be associated with such a philanthropic, conscientious business.
4) Competitive Advantage
Every business looks for ways they can steal a march on their competitors, whether that is through the product they are offering or developing new, ground breaking initiatives that helps build a more positive image to potential customers and clients.
Research shows there is an increasing emphasis on overt Corporate Social Responsibility programmes, with millennials seemingly intent on working for/supporting a company who is seen to be going out of their way for the greater good. There are endless benefits for your business and they range from financial to moral benefits, but the one thing you can be sure on is you cannot expect your business to grow without a solid CSR strategy in place.
People are more likely to part with their hard-earned cash if they can see a benefit further down the line, and CSR activities often impact people on an emotional level helping to make your brand memorable and your activities stand out. A CSR approach might just be the USP that secures your next customer or super star member of staff.
Niall Fitzgerald, former CEO of Unilever once said: "Corporate Social Responsibility is a hard-edged business decision, not because it is a nice thing to do or because people are forcing us to do it… because it is good for our business."