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What is Corporate Social Responsibility and how can it benefit your business?

StrategyEmma Cottle

More than ever, organisations are becoming aware of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and growing more confident in vocalising their own commitments that they have made to society – whether that is in the form of charity donations, changes they are making to help the environment or offering services free of charge. This has come after a shift in marketing which has evolved from product-based to consumer-based to value-based marketing.

First of all, what exactly is Corporate Social Responsibility?

It aims to ensure that companies conduct their business in a way that is ethical. This means taking account of their social, economic and environmental impact, and consideration of human rights. There has been increased pressure from employees, customers and government bodies for businesses to be more transparent about their activities and maintain acceptable standards in their business practice.

Communicating your CSR commitments improves brand trust and loyalty both internally and externally, as discovered by this study by Nielsen in 2014 – who found that 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries would be willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

There have been a couple of excellent examples of this recently. Dell have outlined their Legacy of Good Plan, which details 21 ambitious CSR goals that they intend to achieve by 2020. These include designing out waste and creating a more sustainable supply chain. By highlighting their strategy, Dell are evidencing their long term commitment to society and the environment at large – giving them an advantage over their competitors in a market that is increasingly aware of ethical credentials.

Another example of a great CSR strategy comes from L’Oreal Paris, who have partnered with Prince’s Trust to improve confidence among young people. L’Oreal Paris have evolved from their ‘Because I’m Worth It’ strapline, to ‘All Worth It’, echoing their commitment to boosting young people’s self worth. L’Oréal Paris will run confidence courses quarterly at each of the 18 Prince’s Trust centres, addressing issues such as body language, communication and employability.

These are examples from large organisations, but any commitment – however small – is valuable. Emailing receipts to cut down on paper use and raising funds for a nominated charity are a couple of easy examples of making a commitment to CSR. At McQueenie Mulholland, we have made a commitment to offer marketing support to charities and local organisations and participate in fundraising events.

If you’re struggling for inspiration on what you could do to make a difference to society, we can help. Give us a call today on 01392 423 060.