Is corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the forefront of your business’ decision-making? Well, if it’s not, then it should be.
Corporate social responsibility has quickly become a leading way to establish yourself as a trustworthy brand. And building trust leads to serious business benefits. So it’s time to roll up your sleeves and embrace your role as a corporate agent of change.
“CSR is not a fad, a trend or ‘nice to have’. It’s a business imperative that must be authentic and seamlessly integrated into the brand value propositions.”
—Whitney Dailey, Director of Marketing/Research & Insights at Cone Communications [Source]—
Building a solid CSR strategy takes time and resources, but the return on investment is oh-so-real. Let’s examine 7 benefits of investing in corporate social responsibility.
1. It’s good for your bottom line
Giving back is good for your bottom line. According to the Journal of Consumer Research, when it comes to giving back, buyers on average spend 26% more and retailers can see 29% more sales.
And the Havas’ Meaningful Brands 2019 report states that, in terms of sales, brands that are viewed as making the world a better place have seen their profits grow up to 9 times more than companies who are not.
To increase your brand loyalty, it is important to create meaningful relationships and to be transparent and authentic with consumers. In fact, 88% of Millennials would be more loyal to a company who gives back.
Learn your brand’s CSR potential using this free calculator.
2. Appeal to one of the most powerful populations
Social good matters to this cohort. A lot. So much so that that 80% of Millennials have come to expect that brands support a cause.
“Millennials and Philanthroteens (Gen Z) are rising up as industry disruptors and unapologetic activists who believe that companies should do good and operate for more than a profit.”
—2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study [Source]—
For these generations, a good CSR can determine where millennials shop and which brands they support. As conscious consumers, they typically choose to shop with socially conscious brands over brands that do not display strong ethical initiatives or support a cause. Today, it is not enough to simply offer lower prices or promotions in order to beat out the competition.
Many consumers are actually willing to pay extra if it means that they can buy products from a brand who acts sustainably and ethically.
3. Create loyal customers for life
A loyal customer is a repeat customer. Based on what we’ve seen here at ShoppingGives, our clients see an 18% lift in lifetime value when they incorporate a CSR into their marketing strategy. Plus, repeat customers are more likely to refer your brand to family and friends. In fact, 76% of consumers would tell friends and family about a purpose-driven company.
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When consumers believe in a company and believe their influence on the world is a positive one, they are far more likely to protect the brand and advocate for the brand when mistakes are made.
“67% of consumers say if that company made a misstep, they would be more willing to forgive that company over a company that does not lead with Purpose.”
—2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study [Source]—
4. Create compelling campaigns that tell your conscious brand story
Being socially responsible is something to be proud of, so show it off with a public facing landing page and campaign! It is important to get the word out and let others know how you’re making an impact.
Your marketing communications should make it very clear which causes you support and why. Also break down exactly what your company is doing to affect change. Take it a step further and outline your goals and your timeline so employees and consumers can see your progress.
“What you stand up for and speak up about has an even bigger effect of earning new customer loyalty.”
—WWD, 2018 [Source]—
Some other ideas on how to share your CSR campaign with the world include:
- Publish a blog post that highlights why you are passionate about your CSR strategy and what you hope to accomplish with it.
- Broadcast it across your social channels to build buzz.
- Encourage others to join you and get involved. Incentivize them to help make a positive change!
5. Employee satisfaction and retention
A CSR strategy has internal benefits as well including retention and higher overall engagement.
“Employees at companies with engagement strategies are participating at rates of 40% or higher.”
—2018 State of the Employee Engagement Report [Source]—
Ask employees which causes they are passionate about and incorporate them into your strategy. When employees feel that they contribute to a higher purpose, their job satisfaction and performance get a boost.
6. Foster customer engagement
Customers and consumer engagement are imperative to determining the success of CSR strategies, yet many companies have difficulties measuring the effect of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives beyond social media engagement and Net Promoter Scores.
Some of the most key benefits-such as customer loyalty and improved reputation-are hard to quantify and tie directly to the CSR, making it difficult to assess the value of your activities.
However, engagement and measurement are the most important aspects of CSR as it enables you to:
- Disclose and justify the investment of your activities to your stakeholders and customers
- Improve your decision-making and help evolve your CSR initiatives
- Align your activities with corporate goals and your values
Pioneer programs such as ShoppingGives are finding solutions for retailers to integrate CSR directly into the customer experience, which enables customer engagement and gives access to valuable insights and data to measure ROI. Expect more focus in the future on measurement and engagement as we see CSR become a major deciding factor on profitability.
7. Prepare for the future
With Generation Z entering the workforce and building their disposable income, brands need to consider what matters to this cohort as well. Gen Zers carry the Millennial torch and are even more focused on socially progressive topics.
“Gen Z is already on track to become the largest generation of consumers by the year 2020.”
—Forbes, 2018 [Source]—
Companies who align themselves with social causes today are sure to see it pay back in the future as more socially aware generations bring home bigger pay checks.
Regardless of where your company is as far as your CSR strategy goes, you can rest assured that corporate social responsibility is not a trend and will only become even more of a hot topic as our world grows more conscious. Consider any resources allocated towards CSR as an investment— your employees, customers and the world will thank you.
Want to take the next steps to building a rock solid CSR? Get the ShoppingGives CSR playbook.