- Corporate social responsibility is an essential part of business growth
- Studies have shown that businesses who engage in social responsibility increase their profits, market share, and brand integrity above those that don’t
- The bottom line is social responsibility benefits everyone, from the business to the community, to the world as a whole.
- At Brandcamp, we commit 10% of our revenue to charitable causes and have helped organizations such as Special Olympics BC, Luv the Grub, and Mealshare
According to Investopedia, social responsibility is the idea that businesses must act in a manner that benefits society. The overall idea is that society is a stakeholder and businesses should act in accordance with this knowledge.
Recent global events, such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement, have increased the pressure on corporations and brands to speak out, speak up, and act in accordance with the greater good.
While most top executives may think it wise to stay out of social commentary, studies show that social responsibility and philanthropy are actually in a brand’s best interest.
In fact, corporate philanthropy has been shown to give businesses a competitive advantage when well designed and executed. Studies from Harvard Law have shown that charitable acts by companies increase name recognition and reputation among consumers. Contributions to universities and other educational institutes also provide companies with access to technical expertise, innovation, and opportunities for research and development. As well, charitable acts in rural or underdeveloped areas can increase the size and quality of customer bases.
The bottom line? Be a positive influence for social good and you will be rewarded. Not just in market share, but as a global citizen as well.
Why is social responsibility in marketing important?
In marketing, we have the ability to build impressions and sway opinions. We have the privilege to be able to establish trends and help people consider new lifestyles, and we should use that influence as a driving force for good.
What does social responsibility in marketing look like in practice?
Let’s think for a moment about packaging. Every product uses packaging and most packaging is not environmentally friendly. By choosing to promote eco-friendly packaging, providing it to clients, and offering education inserts in consumer products about how, when, and where to recycle, a brand can promote more environmentally-conscious shopping in their customers.
On the business end, the brand becomes known as socially responsible, charitable, and eco-friendly. This opens them up to an entirely new consumer base and offers opportunities for better client retention.
A real-world example of this idea can be found in Patagonia. Widely regarded as a leader in corporate social responsibility, Patagonia regularly monitors and publishes its supply chain information, donates 1% of its profits to environmental organizations, re-sells pre-worn Patagonia clothing in order to reduce waste (Worn Wear program), and commits to developing sustainable materials to replace petroleum-based products. These are just a few of their initiatives.
While these may seem like incredible, charitable feats, they aren’t done at a loss of profit. Patagonia’s Worn Wear program pays customers $20-$30 for used clothing and resells it at $70-$90. The brand regularly sees a growth rate of 13% per year, with no plans of slowing down.
What are the benefits to marketers, communities, and the world at large?
Culturally, as issues like climate change are becoming more prevalent, the world at large is realizing the need for change and reformation. At our core, humans have evolved to survive both individually and collectively. It is in our nature to act in our species’ best interest.
That said, marketers and businesses alike can benefit from this evolution. Our customers want to be part of something bigger than themselves and they want to survive. Advocating for social responsibility is also advocating for survival.
One of the reasons companies engage in socially responsible behaviour is to benefit financially from it. If given the choice between buying from two shoe companies, with all variables being the same other than one company has socially responsible behaviour, and the other company engages in socially irresponsible behaviour, the logical choice is to associate with the company that acts for the greater good.
This is important to consider for every business because from a marketing and branding perspective it is important to the overall health of the organization. The far-reaching implications go beyond just sponsoring a local charity; companies can create tangible change environmentally and economically.
Brandcamp’s social commitment:
We started Brandcamp with social responsibility in mind. From our inception, we committed to devoting 10% of our revenue to charitable causes. This works out to doing 4 hours of impact work for every 40 hours we work.
We pride ourselves on our passion to make a difference in the communities around us. So far, we’ve helped inspiring organizations such as Special Olympics BC, Mealshare, and Luv the Grub with our impact hours.
The bottom line is social responsibility benefits everyone, from the business to the community, to the world as a whole. It isn’t a question about whether or not your business should be doing it, it’s a question of why haven’t you been doing it all along.
Do good business, for all our sakes.