In 2013 many companies are starting the New Year by examining exactly how effective their branding is and how they are perceived by their customers and the general public. With all else being equal, companies that take an active role in promoting their corporate social responsibility programs are generally viewed more favorably than those that do not have highly visible programs. Having goals and a vision for your company that go beyond products and profits definitely provides a warmer image of your business that consumers will be more eager to engage with.
Understanding the Types of CSR
There are actually two different types of corporate social responsibility to consider. The first one consists of corporations providing funding and resources for worthwhile social causes, such as donating money or employee time to charities. For many people, this is the definition used when thinking about corporate responsibility. However, another type of CSR involves putting together a real plan to produce products or provide services that are in the best interests of society. These include things like using safe materials in design and manufacture, corporate environmental initiatives, and other factors such as job creation and economic development.
Showing a True Commitment
The most successful corporate social responsibility programs integrate these two types of CSR together to show a true commitment to a cause. For example, a company that uses sustainable materials in their products, donates financial resources to environmental causes, and allows employees to take paid time off for volunteering at environmental charities would be showing a true commitment to the environment that goes beyond any single CSR initiative.
Social Media Visibility
One of the reasons that corporations should have visible CSR campaigns is due to the importance and prevalence of social media. Corporations that want to protect their brand understand that social media is an integral part of public perception. When a corporation exercises social responsibility in the form of fundraising or setting up employee giving programs, using social media to promote these actions helps to create a positive branding environment and it is a great way to engage with your audience on a deeper level that goes beyond your products or services.
Public Relations Benefits
Public relations is a potent tool for shaping consumer perception and building a company’s image. Corporations that actively promote their social responsibility activities often take steps to publicize these efforts through the media. Getting the word out about corporate donations, employee volunteer programs, or other CSR initiatives is a powerful branding tool that can build publicity for you in both online and print media.
Corporations that place an emphasis on corporate social responsibility typically have an easier experience when dealing with politicians and government regulators. In contrast, businesses that present a reckless disregard for social responsibility tend to find themselves fending off various inquiries and probes, often brought on at the insistence of public service organizations. The more positive the public perception is that a corporation takes social responsibility seriously, the less likely it is that activist groups will launch public campaigns and demand government inquiries against it.
Building a Positive Workplace Environment
Finally, one of the greatest benefits of promoting social responsibility in the workplace is the positive environment you build for your employees. When employees and management feel they are working for a company that has a true conscience, they will likely be more enthusiastic and engaged in their jobs. This can build a sense of community and teamwork which brings everyone together and leads to happier, more productive employees.