The Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility for Businesses
Generally speaking, companies that play a more active role in carrying out Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, tend to be more favored and received by consumers than their counterparts who either play a less visible role or forfeit their CSR altogether. CSR programs are voluntary social, human or environmental projects/roles that companies can embark on as their own small contribution to humanity and the environment.
There are fundamentally two kinds of CSR that companies can participate in. First, there is the CSR that entails companies lending their time, money or resources to worthwhile social and environmental causes. This may include supporting a charity, lending assistance to an environmental change movement or embarking on community infrastructural projects. For most people, this is what comes to mind when CSR is mentioned.
On the other hand, another type of CSR entails structured and well thought out plan to produce a product or offer a service that is beneficial to the society or environment. Such processes may include favoring lower emissions in manufacturing processes, such as General Mills proposal for a 20% reduction in power consumption, producing items with more recyclable parts, and generally advocating for the safety and well being of the environment through an ethical business approach.
Long gone are the days when companies and businesses solely operated with the aim of making profit. Today, most people and the society at large, expect various companies to contribute and take a stronger stance in a range of societal, human and environmental issues. A 2015 study also revealed that 91% of consumers globally, expected businesses to play a reasonable role in solving a host of environmental and societal issues.
If the stats are anything to go by, it glaringly depicts that now more than ever, consumers are starting to pay close attention to companies that carry out CSR programs and demonstrate strong ethical approaches in their dealings. Since consumers are looking to align their allegiance to businesses that care much more than their profit after tax figures, it makes perfect sense business-wise, for companies to embark on a CSR program.
In the past, most companies viewed CSR as a responsibility that they had no moral or business obligation to make. It used to be perceived as something ‘extra,’ something that could be done without and a somewhat unjustifiable way to spend money.
However, today, that notion has changed. With consumers playing a key role in the revolution. Now, companies – especially multinational brands – are aware that the world is closely watching how they respond to societal and environmental issues, their commitment to human development, and community service. Therefore, there isn’t a better time than now for businesses to take up CSR. Not only as a way contributing positively to the society, but also as a way to increase their market reach and brand engagement.
Below are 5 reasons why businesses should wholeheartedly embrace CSR:
ENHANCED REPUTATION AND PUBLIC IMAGE
As mentioned earlier, people now look beyond what you sell and the services you offer. Consumers now also assess how your company provides those services and sell those goods. People are now concerned about what else your business is doing apart from taking their money and declaring huge profits. A simple community project, support for a local charity or supporting a social development program, can go a long way to show that your brand has deep values that centers around caring for others. This will instantly make your brand or service more preferable to buyers.
More PR…. The Good Kind!
Businesses that are committed to ethical practices will almost certainly reap the fruit of their labor. News spread fast, and word about your company upholding human values and conducting their business ethically can be the best kind of advert. This in turn will create buzz around not just the company, but its services and products too.
Simple changes in favor of a greener environment such as consuming less energy and using less packaging can be a double win. Apart from running a business with a smaller carbon footprint, the business also saves more money in the long run; in the form of lower production costs.
AN EDGE OVER COMPETITORS
Apart from offering a great product or service, a good part of business also involves dominating your rivals in the market. Remember, CSR is good PR, and good PR usually equals more sales. By embracing CSR, your business will differentiate itself from businesses that are only after declaring profits. This will give you an edge over your close rivals, as consumers will most likely opt for a business that has enshrined positive societal and environmental factors in their values.
INCREASED CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT
If your business is running on less gas, using less packaging or is supporting a local charity, be sure to let the world know. Some of these good deeds can go unnoticed if they are not announced. Create an ad about it, post it on your social media pages and make sure that the world learns about the extra mile that your company or business is making. Engage local media outlets and encourage them to spread word around about your businesses’ new CSR project. Consumers will definitely take note of this development and will be more than happy to interact with your brand, both online and offline.