When you think of some of the world’s top brands, at first you might think about their market domination, huge profits and large customer base, however, many of the world’s biggest brands have got to where they are today because they’ve built a reputation on good Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
For example, Walt Disney’s Citizenship programme is an integral part of their brand. They believe it strengthens their connection with consumers, makes their company a more desirable place to work and builds goodwill in the communities in which they operate, all contributing to their growth and success.
We can’t all be Walt Disney but a CSR programme doesn’t have to require a large team or budget. Here are three ways in which CSR could benefit your business.
1. Win new customers
It’s not just enough to have a CSR strategy, you need to make it part of your brand and shout about it. Having a brand image that builds goodwill creates a warmer image of your company that customers will be more eager to engage with. And, it’s not only customers that will be attracted by your good deeds and generosity but investors and corporate partners will want to be associated with your business too.
You’ll also get more and better media coverage of your business through the CSR activities you undertake. Trade publications and business newspapers want to fill their pages with good news stories, not doom and gloom so your kind acts will give them something to write about.
However, your CSR strategy should not just be a marketing technique; it should be integrated into your business and be something that staff and customers can get behind.
2. Build a positive workplace
In the same way that having a good reputation will attract new customers, it will also attract new staff and foster a positive working environment for existing staff. In 2015, millennials, those born in the 1980s and 1990s, will outnumber baby boomers in the workforce. It is known that millennials are more likely to spend more on products that are responsibly sourced and are loyal to brands they trust. They will have the same expectations of their employers so CSR will become increasingly more important to attract the next generation of employees.
Making time or providing opportunities for employees to undertake voluntary work, encouraging sustainable practices and taking part in fund raising activities are all ways in which you can create a happier, more inspired workforce which will in turn enhance your brand. It may also help stimulate innovation amongst staff, whether this is by encouraging them to think about ways to generate more positive publicity or to save money through being green.
At Business West, a team of 10 members of staff, including Managing Director Phil Smith and Executive Director James Durie, took part in Byte Night, a national sleep-out event, raising money for Action for Children. It will raise money for a great cause, be a great bonding experience for the team and inspire other staff to get involved in fundraising through their money making activities.
3. Save money
CSR isn’t just about doing good, it saves you money too. Environmental measures such as reducing waste, re-using resources or saving energy and fuel can reduce operational costs. Add to this the potential money saved in additional marketing costs now that you’re getting lots of free positive PR and, as new staff will be lining up to join your company, you’ll save money on recruitment too! Due to your positive workplace environment your workforce are more likely to stay longer, reducing the costs of replacing them and retraining new staff.
At Business West we recently saved 60% on our gas bill by installing zoning equipment and managing temperature control. Staff initiatives have also been well received by employees. A cycle scheme, giving staff access to money off new bikes and a car sharing club has resulted in 19% less business mileage claimed.