The concept of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) defines a self-regulating business model established to help a company achieve social objectives and become growingly socially accountable. Corporate Social Responsibility companies give back to the community where they belong, or to specific causes they care about.
A good example of company with outstanding CSR values is netamorphosis client RYU.
As we know how important it is to end-users to see the value that a company has, above and beyond its products, when we were tasked to build the Strategy that rebooted RYU, we made sure their CSR efforts were given space and visibility throughout the entire omnichannel consumer experience.
What makes the actions of a company fall under the umbrella of corporate social responsibilities is the ties of such actions to specific social, environmental or economic welfare efforts that give a positive impact to the world. Corporate social responsibility projects allow marketers to make commitments— to themselves, their stakeholders, the general public—and to be, quite simply, ‘better’. CSR strategies to achieve this are quite varied and can be money-based (donations) or support-based (in-kind services).
In today’s consumer landscape—where activism-prone Millennials and Generation Z are key target pockets most brands will want to engage with—companies have to find ways to be more meaningful and relevant. Contemporary customers have high expectations and, besides looking for quality, they are also growingly prioritizing engaging with labels that have clear and positive CSR values. This means that CSR strategies can become quite crucial for them to extend to their services/products, as they can be instrumental in building better customer relationships, or even building new ones.
Fenty by Rihanna, Starbucks, Everlane and other trailblazing companies all chose to make CSR part of their core brand DNA and are therefore positively affecting, embracing and fostering social change with their business beliefs, practices and profits. The results in terms of consumer loyalty and conversions have proven them right, and is now setting the bar higher for others to follow their lead.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY BENEFITS BUSINESS AS WELL
CSR efforts aim at supporting global causes, but they are growingly becoming a fundamental aspect for businesses to commit to, in order for them to stay relevant and drive conversions. In fact:
- 60% of Americans hope businesses will drive social and environmental change in the absence of Government regulation.
- 87% said they would purchase a product because a company supported an issue they care about
- 76% refuse to buy from a company if they learn it supports an issue contrary to their own beliefs.
Corporate social responsibility refers to the role corporations should play in advancing and addressing social and global challenges, through both activism on and investment in the issues that matter to their employees, customers and communities. Companies can commit to CSR in different ways, choosing to adhere to CSR values internally (by, for instance, fostering gender equality and social inclusion in the workplace, or by adopting green office policies) or externally, making their efforts and commitment even more visible and public. More often than not, companies would do both and foster broader societal change through their exemplary actions.
PR is pivotal to ensure proper dissemination and awareness on such efforts, generating more structured and shared public awareness, as well as a positive cascade-effect, where other similar companies might follow the lead of others. For instance, Gucci, Prada and Cartier have all invested major financial and PR efforts in mainstreaming, preserving and conserving contemporary and ancient art. Their CSR examples were soon followed by other fashion houses such as Della Valle-owned Tod’s, that sponsored the restoration of the Coliseum in Rome.
3 WAYS COMPANIES CAN SHOW THEIR COMMITMENT TO CSR
- By supporting specific causes that are meaningful for them. An example is the Pink Pony campaign by Ralph Lauren which is part of the broader efforts RL is involved in to support cancer awareness and treatment.
- By making public pledges to global goals, such as choosing to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and signing the UN Global Compact.
- By becoming active partners of cause-specific INGOs. IKEA is a long-lasting supporter of Save the Children internationally, and H&M and WWF have partnered a number of times to make internal processes more sustainable and bring eco-fashion collections to consumers.
As neta is a female-founded (and lead) company, we thrive to make key CSR values such as that of gender empowerment part of our work, culture and daily routine, internally and with the companies we partner with. Then, as part of our broader Strategy work, we also advise our clients on how they can make their CSR strategies more consistent and efficient from a marketing and positioning stand point–to do good and achieve global goals whilst also generating ROI.