by samson tong and EA content team
You’ve just written up the press release about your company employee’s volunteer work and the donation to a charity, or you have just finished off your ESG report in order to meet the ESG requirements, or maybe you were preparing documents to apply for the caring company logo? In any of these situations, you might be wondering if corporate social responsibility marketing is essential to your company and brand, the answer is a definitely “Yes”, here’s why.
Matters to your customer
Multiple published journal has stated that CSR plays an important role in consumer’s decision-making. When you are branding with a heart through CSR marketing, the effectiveness will multiply, organically. Many brands are benefiting from their long-term CSR programs not only because it helps to reinforces companies’ commitment to the communities and the legacy of giving-back, being socially responsible is also what customers generally expect, especially among the millennium generation. Millennial customers have great impact on changes in social responsibility, Toms is indeed a good example.
Matters to your bottomline
Simple logic. People tend to have better re-call rate of your brand where your company invest in the communities. They will say, “this is the company I want to work for or do business with.” CSR marketing not only helps to create good-will culture among employees, it also extends the company’s value to their families and friends. The positive relation between CSR and employee performance has been proven by many studies, which means employees in socially responsible companies generate better performance than companies that are less socially responsible, whereas CSR activities enhance employee motivation. After all, studies continue to show that companies are more likely to enjoy competitive advantages, higher brand recognition and reputation, lower employee attrition and better engagement, when they value their employees as individuals and take social responsibility seriously.
One Stone, 3 Birds
Although using CSR as a vessel for a branding strategy has always been challenging, yet the manifestation of good-will will bring you to the reality that you envision: More satisfied customer, happier employee, and finally a better community. If you do it right, CSR marketing is a high return investment with money spending meaningfully and wisely. More importantly, it matters for a greater good.
CSR Marketing 101
- Be authentic and be honest
Rule number one, be authentic and be honest in your brand’s beliefs and commitment to the community. You will gain greater respect if you are genuine.
- Values, principle and strategy
It’s vitally important to attach your brand’s beliefs and values to your CSR strategy. Walk through yourself with 4 aspects of CSR: social, economic, environmental and human rights, and work with your management team to build a list of CSR commitments. Prioritize these principles and seed them into your CSR marketing strategy.
- Bottom up and top down
Conduct polls and enquires to gather up interest and collect support from your co-workers. Build the Volunteer team and seek for team leaders. Always engage your management and you will need them to be determined to commit and support all the way through the campaign.
- What reach who and why?
Define your communications goals and narrow down your targeted audience. What do you want to achieve with your message? It’s essential to review and prioritise them. Your programs should be covering co-workers, business partners, Non-profit organizations, stake-holders, volunteers, media, customers and general public, be attentive to the interest and voices from different group while you craft out your CSR campaign.
- Give more than money
“Giving hands” offer extra miles than solely making money donation. Good-will would penetrate deeper among both givers and receivers, in a long run. For instance, as a title sponsor of Asia Fencing Championship 2017, Blue Cross Insurance has created a talk-of-the-town integrated marketing campaign which included a Facebook Fund Raising Campaign, AFC Kick-off Ceremony cum Fencing Charity Competition and a series of youth fencing training programs that has benefited nearly 1,000 young people in 2017.
- Be transparent and demonstrate the SROI impact
Craft your CSR campaign into stories and numbers; interview your givers and receivers, have them to share their experience gained from the programs. Life-changing stories always inspire extra brand value. In order to document your CSR achievements effectively, hire an agency to help you record the SROI (social return-of-investment). They can help you to develop KPI in order to track the success of your CSR campaign. Publish and outreach these stories and SRPO reports to media, extend the impact of the campaign to enhance more public awareness.
- Be Wise in partnership
Pick your Non-profit partners wisely and engage a communication firm that specializes in CSR campaign management. They will help you to save more time on the winding road and gain extra value from your CSR campaign. It is crucial to appoint a professional agency to publish your CSR achievements, so you should be able to avoid being accused of “goodwashing”.
- Be innovative and get viral