CSR and Branding: The way around
In the beginning of 2017, a research carried out by a private consulting firm based in New York found out that 42% of how people feel about a company is based on their perceptions of the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
As per Global CEO survey- 2016, 64% of CEOs say that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is core to their business rather than being a stand-alone program. Also, a total of 17.8 billion dollars is the amount that corporations have given to charities in the last year. Also, company’s CSR strategy is a big factor based on which the top talents choose their workplace.
Today, Microsoft, Google, The Walt Disney company, BMW and Apple among others are companies who have he best CSR Reputation among the consumers.
Niall Fitzgerald, Former CEO of Unilever states,” 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”. This clearly explains how important is CSR to the branding of a company eventually.
It is imperative that not only big businesses are considering CSR, but, small businesses should also consider CSR as a smart brand strategy instead of just focusing and working tirelessly on the growth of their businesses only.
It is evident that consumers can make or break business and they tend to incline towards companies that demonstrates concern for community development, employee welfare, sustainable environmental development, corporate governance and so on. Thus, CSR is a major factor that leverages the Branding of a company and helps in the creation of brand loyal consumers thereby, adding to the growth of a company.
CSR also links the corporate to community which means that they engage in activities that supports or develops community. And, as the research suggests, 88% of the consumers responded that they are more likely to buy from a company that engages in activities for the societal development.
For instance, this it is important that a company lay a foundation of business strategy to work on the CSR and Brand strategy. It is important to assess how CSR investments support business objectives and practices as well. CSR should be supported by actual business practices, consistent communications and should also be experienced by consumers in tangible ways- economically, socially or environmentally. Only then, CSR can help achieve desired result of Branding. Some of the companies fail at their CSR because they fail to deliver things they promise. Also, they lack communications internally. Failing to choose correct partner, improper structuring of CSR Projects and monitoring customer impacts are other causes leading to failure of CSR of companies as well.
Thus, it is important that CSR align with the business strategy, communication and objectives of CSR so that a brand value can be created out of it along with community development.